Is Argentina the sweetest country on earth? I have the teeth to prove it.

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Argentina sweets

During my four months in Argentina, I have been to the dentist a total of 12 times, had two root canals, two crowns and one standard filling. For about 15 minutes of that time, I had no more than a small metal tooth in place of my molar, and my inadequate Spanish left me convinced I was going to have to face the world with it until my crown was made the next week. Luckily, the temporary plastic tooth had simply got lost in translation and saved me the embarrassment of looking like a pirate.

But why so many dentist visits? Well it could be that my Dad had a mouth full of fillings and I’ve inherited his darned weak teeth, or that my dentist in England was a sham and replaced my old amalgam fillings without telling me this would weaken them and potentially lead to root canals just four months later (lesson learned: never get a ‘3 for 4’ offer when it comes to your teeth). Or, a more fun explanation could be to draw a correlation with the fact that Argentina is perhaps the sweetest country I’ve ever been too. So yes, I think the story will go something like this. “You think that’s sweet? Try going to Argentina. I had to have three fillings while I was there.” If I could, I’d then pop off my fancy porcelain tooth to display my pirate peg.

The curse of Argentina’s sweets

Now, this might be a bit dramatic, but there’s truth in one thing: Argentina is SWEET. Stop at a petrol station, or head into a corner shop, and you’ll be confronted by a dazzling array of colourful wrappers filled with sugary delights. Super sweet alfajores are a national  delicacy, the ice cream rivals Italy, and merienda (coffee and cake) is a favourite time of day.

Dulce de leche aisle in the supermercado, Argentina

And don’t forget the dulce de leche – not that you could seeing as it is in everything. Whole supermarket aisles are dedicated to the stuff. One morning we were even woken up on an overnight bus ride to a 6:30am breakfast of six items, all containing dulce de leche. That was the turning point for both of us – nothing like a white chocolate alfajore to push you over the edge of dulce de leche indulgence.

And it’s not just the things made of sugar. It seems that Argentines like to sweeten everything. I once counted six sugars served on the side of my coffee; you can feel the grains in a lemonade; and smoothies even come with a (un)healthy dose of sugar. Heck, even the bread is sweetened!

Perhaps most telling of all is the Argentine tendency to sweeten words – besito, gorrito, juegito – anything small is made into its diminutive and giving a little topping of syrup– even words aren’t safe from sugar.

So, there you have it; the proof in the pudding – Argentina destroyed my teeth.

14 thoughts on “Is Argentina the sweetest country on earth? I have the teeth to prove it.”

    • Thanks Alessandra. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the blog. I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Argentina. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

    • So lovely to hear from you! Im pleased you found the blog. The teeth are feeling much better now thankfully. Looking forward to seeing you next month! x

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  2. Just found your blog – love it!

    This is so true. I was in Buenos Aires for a while and always thought it was funny that they make everything so sweet, yet if you suggest putting sugar in mate, they’ll look at you like you have three heads!

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  5. Oh my god, I can totally empathise. We’ve been living in Buenos Aires for four months and I have three cavities (plus had to get a wisdom tooth removed) – that’s more cavities in a few months than I’ve ever had in my entire life!! Everything is sweet. At work, we have a machine that makes coffee and hot chocolate and I always choose my hot chocolate without sugar – only to find lumps of it at the bottom of the cup when I finish. But I still can’t say no to dulce de leche, and ice cream. And alfajores. And facturas. And… well, everything!! 🙂

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