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Science Explains: Sweet Tooth

Dental Practice in CuffleyDo you have a sweet tooth? It’s easy to fall in love with sugary sweet treats but the problem with this “addiction” is very obvious. Too much sugar is bad for the teeth. It serves as the ultimate breeding ground for cavities. Dental practices such as Cuffley Village Dental Practice have seen one too many patients writhe in agony from toothaches, all because they cannot control their sweet tooth.

But then, not everyone has a sweet tooth. Other people crave less sugary food. What this means is that a sweet tooth must come from something. Science explains its possible origins.

Brain Connections

Of the approximately 10,000 taste buds in your mouth, certain factors can make you prefer a certain flavour, in this case, its sweetness. Each taste bud connects to sensory neurons which directly relays information to the brain. According to endocrinologist Dr. Joseph Pinzone from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the sensitivity of taste buds is rarely uniform. Some people like salty or bitter food, while others choose sweet tasting food. And it’s all because of genes.

Yes, you read that right. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s a good chance that you’re born with it. People with sweet teeth are born with a weaker sensitivity to sweetness. Thus, they need more sugar to compensate for that. Scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, U.S.A. tested 243 pairs of identical twins, 452 pairs of non-identical twins, and 511 individuals.

Genetic factors seemed to account for 30 percent in the variation of sweetness from person to person. What this means is that there is a shared connection in people’s perception of sweetness intensity. The scientists included identical twins because they possess almost equally similar sweetness perception. It allowed the researchers to identify the disparities.

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Ever heard of the statement that sweets are a “weakness”? There is scientific truth to it. Someone with a sweet tooth has a weaker perception to the intensity of sweetness.

So, with a sweet tooth, it’s best to have regular check-ups at your dentist to try to maintain teeth’s health and prevent those cavities.

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