The sweets come out at night

Posted by

Days are shorter in winter. All that darkness can be boring and worse still is that the weather often confines you to the inside of your house. It might well be the boredom and the vicinity to your cupboards and fridge which induce winter-time sweets eating. But then there are also Halloween and Christmas with their associated sweets. Yes, when the sun goes down the sugar comes out to play.

Tooth decay depends on the frequency of sugar intake like the photoelectric effect depends on the frequency of light.

At times like these, I think back to the advice my dentist gave me regarding sweets: it’s frequency that matters not quantity. Hence, if you’re going to eat sweets, it’s best for your teeth to eat them all in one go, preferably at mealtimes as your teeth are then already being exposed to a food attack. So, when my children ask me for sweets during the day I tell them that they can eat some after dinner.

I must warn you that when mentioning the words light and darkness, frequency and quantity, as we have just done, a physicist is not usually far off to tell you about the way that light can knock electrons out of a material. Here as well, just like the dentist said, it is the frequency of the light and not its quantity which is most important. If a red light (low frequency) does not dislodge electrons from a particular material, then increasing the brightness (quantity) of the red light will not help one bit. Just like eating all your sweets in one fell swoop is quite safe for your teeth. Instead, if it is blue light (high frequency) which dislodges electrons from that specific material, then it doesn’t matter how weak you make the light; so long as it’s blue, it’ll work for you. Analogously, so long as you eat sweets throughout the day, even if it’s only a tiny bit each time, you’ll hurt your teeth.

Isn’t it just a little bit interesting that sweets behave analogous to light? Perhaps this is why we like to eat more of them when it gets dark.