Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A chocolate a day keeps the dentist away...and more for your sweet tooth!

"Never fall in love with a dentist", said my senior colleague and good friend in the first year of dental school. If we were to heed every word of wisdom from our well wishers, wouldn't this world have been a wonderful place? The falling in love was a beautiful experience - the youthful euphoria of a new found meaning of life, the heart pumping adrenaline every time I thought of her, a different world where every little thing was poetic, and a sudden ear for music that sank deep and echoed long. But it was his words that echoed back when the time came to voice my feelings to her. You see, complicated as girls are, she "simply loved" chocolates as a girl and "really hated" chocolates as a dentist. With her having showed me both her sides on two different occasions, was my proposal supposed to include this evil bliss or not? After having a word with her best friend, I asked her out one evening - "The sweetness in your person eclipses the sweetness of my chocolates", hoping to hold my feet in both the boats. Did I succeed in making the sweet dentist smile? 

"Never fall in love with a dentist"

 Chocolates have been proven to be good for the health of your gums and teeth, and they have other health benefits as well. Why then the common belief that chocolates cause dental cavities and bad teeth? It is actually other ingredients in your chocolate bar, like sugar and caramel, that will stick to your teeth and cause cavities. So if you love chocolates, don't let the thought of your dentist keep you from giving in to the temptation next time. Just make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after you have had a chocolate. 

 Here are 5 reasons why chocolates are good for your teeth:

1. Chocolates prevent cavities in teeth: Chocolates are made from cacao beans, which contain a compound theobromine. Theobromine, along with some other minor constituents of cocoa, like oleic and linoleic acids, inhibit the bacteria that cause dental cavities. The amount of theobromine contained in a one ounce dark chocolate bar can make the tooth harder than the routinely done anti-cavity fluoride treatment. It comes as no surprise then, that theobromine toothpastes are already in the making.

2. Chocolates are good for gums: Cocoa is also rich in another group of useful compounds - flavanoids. Flavanoids have strong antioxidant properties. While we have all read about the numerous health benefits of antioxidants in the body, when it comes to teeth, antioxidants prevent the progression of gum disease. Tannins, that give dark chocolate its dark color and bitter taste, prevent the formation of plaque - which is the beginning of gum disease. 

3. Chocolates prevent bad breath: Polyphenols in chocolates fight off the bacteria that cause bad breath. 

4. Chocolates can help prevent memory loss: How is memory loss linked to dental health? Well, no studies on it yet, but you might just remember to brush and floss before getting into bed!

5. Chocolates release feel good hormones: Endorphins are the feel good chemicals of body, that produce a sense of euphoria when for example, you laugh, exercise, meet a loved one or have sex. Chocolates produce the same hormones from the brain. It also contains phenylethylamine and anandamide ("anand" in Sanskrit means bliss or delight), which give you a high. Again, how is feeling good linked to dental health? Lots of studies have shown a correlation linking anxiety and depression to poor dental health.

 She opened the box of chocolates. "Why are two chocolates missing from here?"
 "I was feeling nervous on the way here. Needed something to boost my endorphin levels, so had one!"
 She frowned, and I thought all was lost. She did like confident guys, I knew. 
 "What about the second one? You had that too?" There was an obvious tone of displeasure in her words. 
 "Yes I did", I said, trying to sound unperturbed. 
 "So that I don't forget the promises I make to you today for the rest of our life."
 "Our life?" 
 And she smiled. 

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