Who knows why it appears, but sometimes it just does—a huge, must-have-now craving for chocolate. And when you take that first bite, satisfaction is more than achieved. While some people have an iron-clad willpower and can resist the temptation of a candy bar at the store or chocolate cake at a supper, others aren’t as strong. Chocolate lovers can rejoice, though. Some kinds have proven benefits for your body and your mouth. Chocolate and other sugary snacks have always been named nemesis number one for individuals striving for improved oral health. We’ve learned over the years though, that cavities caused by sugar aren’t only from chocolate, but other foods we regularly consume, too. Bread and potatoes also contain high levels of sugar which can cause tooth decay. How did chocolate become the only one with a bad reputation?

How Do Different Chocolate Types Affect Teeth?

Milk chocolate, one of the most commonly consumed types, is the worst for your teeth. Why? Milk chocolate has much more sugar in it than in other forms. Because it is made from the delicious combination of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar, it can cause cavities and tooth decay when consumed in excess. Twenty-30% of it is cocoa, with the remainder being the sugar and powdered milk. Plain milk chocolate is unlikely to do a lot of harm to your teeth because it can be washed away fast with saliva. If it contains nougat or caramel, much more damage can be done because they cling to your teeth, allowing bacteria to fester and grow.

Related: 5 Tips For Preventing Cavities

Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is much better for the health of your teeth because it contains polyphenols and flavonoids. Polyphenols tackle the overgrowth of bacteria that can reside in your mouth, neutralizing organisms that cause bad morning breath. They also prevent some sugars from transforming into acid, which is what causes cavities and tooth decay. Flavonoids have also been found to slow tooth decay, plus they reduce cholesterol, blood clots, and clogged arteries. If you choose this one for a snack, make sure it has less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving. Raw chocolate, the stuff that is 70% made of cocoa, is the best for your teeth out of the three. It is largely unprocessed, meaning it contains higher levels of antioxidants. Raw cocoa is also a good source of magnesium, which contributes to a healthy brain and strong bones and teeth. Raw chocolate has minimal sugar in it and doesn’t contain any milk, so it’s the perfect option for those who have a restrictive diet.

Chocolate can bring us momentary happiness but can wreak havoc with our teeth. If you need a piece to munch on, try raw cocoa as it’s the best option for you. If that doesn’t work for you, your second option should be dark chocolate, and lastly plain, old milk chocolate.