Every parent is concerned about their child eating up sweets-candies and chocolates. And the fear instilled by the oral care companies is immense! In a world of insecurity, the fear factor sells more than ever with questions like-what will happen if I die early, if one does not use this paste/soap/liquid, and then germs attack your body.

It is really pathetic when you see people buying out of fear of the unknown. Insecurity leads the market at all fronts and the cash registers of the producing companies keep ringing.

How often have you seen a child pestering a mother for an additional candy and the mother ruefully ignores the child saying that “un pallu sotthai ayidum” (your teeth will decay) I wonder at these times when my parents used to dole me money for buying those sweet nothings, coming in an massive array- arisi mittai, kamarkattu, oranju mittai, kadala urundai, manila barfi, sooda mittai, thenga barfi…the list seems going on and the cost must be about 5 paise at the maximum.

Now we are worried about so many things like hygiene, the combination of oil, the adulteration. I wonder if children of this age have known to taste those sweets, unlike those wrapper hidden and branded sweets which come with a lot of calories and price. Children are no doubted sweet toothed and they have the incredible quality of judgment- it is either right or wrong- no compromises in between.

The simple fact that a child can be pampered by a sweet is itself a testimony to the above statement. One of the most competitive markets in the world is one of confectionery products and the best companies always innovate to survive.

The advent of the sachet revolution resulted in smarter packaging of chocolates and thus enhancing the shelf life. One of the prime reasons for parents to be wary of the chocolates is that the teeth decay of their wards. The major factor is that sugar is an aid to tooth decay, whereas the cocoa and the ingredient minerals in the chocolates promote bacteria in cutting the sugar and thus prevent the decaying process.

A fatigued person known to eat chocolates is charged with energy due to the stimulant endorphins present therein. It is also known to enhance secretion of antibodies such as secretory immuno globin A, and presence of cholesterol cutters prevent the clogging of blood. Aspirin like substance prevents the cardiac arrests as results have shown. Now if some parent shouts at a kid- stop taking a bar of chocolate, is usually preventing the energy addition to already active kids who need continuous energy to grow.

I wonder whether my parents knew this, since they grew up at an age where such facts were in research and text-books. They never used to stop from doling out chocolates or candies but knew the right way to guide through. To twist a Tamizh proverb-“Ainthil sapidathathu Aimbathil sapida mudiyuma” is apt because the gen-next will not have the kind of candies and sweets the earlier generation had.

Ramesh. R. Gopal

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