Teaching your kids to brush and floss can be a frustrating experience. Try the science experiments below to have a fun, educational experience with your kids that will hopefully make the process easier.
Experiment 1: Vinegar and Chicken Bones
Purpose: To help children understand the importance of brushing their teeth.
2 chicken bones for each child, vinegar, a cup or bowl for each child
Before beginning this experiment, dry a couple of chicken bones for each child for 2-3 days. When they are dry, you are ready to begin.
Give each child two chicken bones and a bowl full of vinegar. Submerge one chicken bone in the vinegar, and leave the other out in the air. After two days, check on the bones. Compare the difference between the bones that were in the vinegar and the bones that were left in the air.
The bones that were set in the vinegar are noticeably softer than the bone that was left in the air. That is because vinegar is an acid, and it slowly ate away at the calcium in the chicken bone. Teeth react to acid similar to the chicken bone. If you let acid sit on your teeth, it slowly eats away at the enamel. If you leave food on your teeth, it will turn into acid as bacteria breaks it down, so it is important to get rid of the food by brushing and flossing.
Experiment 2: Hidden Sugar
Purpose: To help children realize how much sugar is in everyday foods.
1 bottle of Benedict’s solution, small pieces of food such as cookies, candy, bread, fruit, crackers, several glass test tubes, a heat source such as a burner, tongs
Place a small piece of food in each test tube. Pour 40 ml of Benedict’s solution in each test tube, on top of the food. Using the tongs, heat the test tubes one at a time over the burner. Benedict’s solution is used to test glucose in urine to diagnose diabetes. It turns orange when there is sugar. The solution in each test tube will turn orange if there is sugar in the foods tested.
There is sugar in nearly everything we eat. Hopefully, this experiment will help your children see just how much sugar they are consuming every day. Sugar is the number one threat to oral health. The sugar in food is quickly broken down into a dangerous acid that leads to dental decay. After you eat sugar, it is important to brush and floss your teeth, as it is the best way to dislodge the sticky substance from your teeth.