Valentine’s Day, Chocolate and Love

chocolate photo

Food of the Gods

Let’s go back to all the way to ancient Mayans, who actually discovered cocoa as early as 900 AD. They realized that cocoa beans can be harvested and used as a delicious drink that was consumed during religious rituals, marriage ceremonies and even for the purpose of boosting libido! This precious drink was reserved only for the wealthy and important Mayans. Due to its importance and spiritual meaning, Mayans called this exquisite delicacy “food of the Gods”. At that time, sugar was not available to Mayans; hence, they consumed cocoa without sugar, which was definitely the healthiest way to consume this lovely dessert.

The Love Drug

An extensive body of evidence emerged from the scientific research proving the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on mood and emotions. Active ingredients from cocoa beans are surprisingly good for overall health, including protection of cardiovascular system, improvement of metabolic processes and positive effects on the mind and mood. Chocolate increases the level of serotonin in the brain – a chemical compound that goes right to the center of sexual pleasure, emotional wellbeing, proper sleep and balanced appetite. The substance that produces the most intense pleasurable and opium-like feeling is called phenethylamine (PEA). PEA directly increases the concentration of endorphins in the brain resulting in the silly, restless feeling that we often experience when we are in love. Still wondering why this is the most favorite gift for Valentine’s Day? The answer is quite simple – chocolate promotes the feeling of being in love.

Sweet Valentine

Being all about chocolate and love is fine, as long as it is sugar-free. Sugar and dental health just do not match. Increased risk of tooth decay is a direct consequence of consuming sugar. There is plenty of sugar-free chocolate on the market, therefore if you consider eating or giving chocolate as a present, you should try with chocolate that does not contain sugar. The love boosting effects after consumption will still be present, however without harmful consequences to your teeth. Bitter taste can provoke sweet feelings. Still, if sugary treats are something you can’t skip here are some tips on how to keep your teeth healthy during the holidays:

Consume sugary treats moderately

A bit of sugary chocolate is not that bad. The key is to consume treats in moderation. If you take a slight amount of chocolate (three of four pieces), you will not end up in the mouth full of cavities. Try to be modest in eating treats, while generous in showing affection and love.

Brush more often

If you consume sugary desserts, brushing teeth with fluoride enriched toothpaste will help protect your teeth and decrease the risk of tooth decay. Brush as soon as possible following consummation of your favorite chocolate.

Combine with a cup of tea

Adding a cup of green or black tea without sugar can fight the harmful bacteria that multiply following ingestion of sugar. Have a cup of tea after you complete your dessert.

Take a sugar-free gum

Sugar-free gums increase salivation, which washes out the most of sugar from your teeth. Always have a pack of chewing gums if you consume sugary food, it will help you keep your teeth healthy and your breath fresh.

Kiss more

Kissing increases the amount of saliva in your mouth which keeps the chocolate away from your teeth. Share chocolate and kisses with your special someone, this will actually help keep your teeth healthy.

Don’t Forget to Show Love and Affection to your Teeth

Keep the Valentine’s Day sweet in emotions, however free from sugar. Proper dental hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing and eating healthy foods will significantly improve the quality of your teeth. Regular check-ups at the dentist keep the tooth decay away. Let us take care of your smile and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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