As an older generation might say, this fall has been a doozy over here. One unexpected twist was that since September 28, one month ago today, I’ve been to the dentist seven times. Yes, that’s right. Seven.
A routine cleaning on September 28th revealed a back upper molar missing part of an old filling. This led to the placement of a temporary crown on October 2. On October 9th, the temporary crown was re-positioned with sedative cement due to intense pain I’d been feeling the prior three days. On October 10th, after taking one bite of a delicious dinner I made — an occurrence almost as rare as a total solar eclipse — I found myself crunching on the temporary crown. So, on October 11th I went in to get the temporary crown reset, but luckily the permanent crown was ready! Happy Day!
Except two days later, on my birthday, I began to feel intense pain. So, I went back to the dentist on October 19. And on October 20, I was sitting in the endodontist’s chair, having a root canal. On October 24, while eating a protein bar at my desk, I bit into what felt like a rock. So I was back at the dentist today, thinking I’d lost part of a filling in another tooth. The good news is the filling is intact.
The bad news is I’m terrified of eating any Halloween candy this year. An non-candied apple is kind of as far I’m willing to go with my mouth full of time bomb silver fillings from the early 90s. So maybe it was a blessing-not-in-disguise to see today’s article in the Wall Street Journal on the LD50 of various popular Halloween candies, a chilling reminder of sugar’s murderous behavior.
The LD50 is the dose of a substance lethal to half of a test population, typically rats. Every substance has an LD50, even water! Sucrose, the main sugar in candy, has an LD50 of 13.5 grams per pound of body weight. For a 125-pound person, this translates to about 200 fun-size candy bars, 250 gummy worms, and just over 1,000 pieces of candy corn. I LOVE candy corn — I know, it’s disgusting, but I love it — though don’t think I’d ever eat 1,000 pieces in one sitting. Gummy worms on the other hand? I kind of could picture mindlessly munching 250 of them, if I were watching a gripping enough movie. For now however, I will sit longingly staring at the bin of candy corn, wondering if I’ll be brave enough to take a handful and possibly end up at the dentist again next week.
My favorite part of this article? The personalized equation they offer:
(Your weight * 13.5)/9.3 = the number of fun-size candy bars that would kill you
This equation takes the LD50 of sucrose (13.5), multiples it by your weight, and then divides it by 9.3, which is the number of grams of sugar in an average fun-size candy bar. Go ahead, give it a whirl. Maybe this can inspire the next blockbuster murder mystery — was it death by fun-size Milky Way or Three Musketeers?