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Eeeew! Create tooth decay in a jar with the News 2 Science Geeks

This experiment will show how beverages we enjoy can harm our teeth.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Welcome back to News 2 Science Geeks! It's a weekly segment that gives you some easy-to-do science experiments during this period of staying at home. Have fun, and let us know if you try this one out. 

This week we look at tooth decay. Whether it is orange juice, cola, or fruit drinks, some beverages we love to drink contain sugars, acids, or both. This can erode the enamel on our teeth causing tooth decay.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  • 3 Jars With Lids
  • 3 Brown Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Orange Juice, Cola, and Water

FOLLOW THESE STEPS:

  1. Fill each jar with a liquid
  2. Add one egg to each jar 
  3. Add lids and let stand for 7 days
  4. Check the condition of the eggs

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WHY DID IT WORK?

Eggs were used in this experiment because eggshells and our teeth are both largely made up of the same material, mainly calcium. Brown eggs were used to better show the destruction of the eggshell. You can also use white eggs. You must boil the eggs before beginning the experiment. This is important. 

Sugars and acids work to break down the calcium in our teeth over time. By soaking an egg in both orange juice and cola for a week, we can see how sugars and acids break down and destroy the eggshell. The same process happens to the surface of our teeth over time. 

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ORANGE JUICE: While loaded with vitamin C, orange juice contains both sugars and citric acid. In my experiment, the egg soaked in orange juice looked the worse and had more of its shell missing at the end of the experiment. 

COLA: Not just cola, but any soft drink is loaded with sugars. While sugars break down calcium, they also do other harmful things to our teeth. Any bacteria in our mouth uses sugars as food to grow. Increased bacteria leads to the formation of plaque which destroys our teeth.

WATER: In this experiment, water was used as our control liquid. It does not contain any sugars or acids. So, there was no erosion of the eggshell. It looked just like it did when I beain the experiment a week earlier. No damage to the eggshell.

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Conclusion

Listen to your mom and dad when they tell you to brush your teeth! The American Dental Association recommends we brush our teeth after every meal. Let's face it, most of us don't. Its never too late to start. There is nothing nicer than a big, healthy smile. 

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