Ever wonder what sugar actually does to your teeth? Curious what tooth decay looks like? Here at Tooth Fairy Headquarters, we wanted to share just how harmful excess sugar can be to your smile. Using a few simple ingredients from your refrigerator, you and your little ones can experience first hand the effects sugar has on teeth.
The Eggshell Experiment
What you’ll need...
- 2 hard boiled eggs (white shelled)
- An old toothbrush and toothpaste
- 2 clear cups or bowls
The outermost layer of our teeth is called enamel. The enamel on our teeth is very similar to an eggshell. Did you know that brushing an eggshell with fluoridated toothpaste will strengthen the shell, in the exact same way that brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste will strengthen your tooth’s enamel.
Ask your child to brainstorm what they think happens to their teeth when they drink sugary soda. Next, ask them to brainstorm what they think will happen to the eggshells when the eggshells sit overnight in a cup of sugary soda.
Step 1: Hard boil two eggs. Avoid cracking the shells. Cracked shells will not work for this experiment. Let the eggs cool.
Step 2: Fill your first glass half full with soda.
Step 3: Fill your second glass half full with water.
Step 4: Add a single hard boiled egg to each cup.
Step 5: Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
Step 6: After 24 hours remove the eggs from the cup and set them on a clean, dry paper towel.
Step 7: Observe the differences between the egg that sat in water vs. the egg that sat in sugary soda. (The shell that sat in the soda should have significant staining. The egg that sat in the water should remain unchanged).
Step 8: Apply a small amount of toothpaste to your toothbrush. Gently brush the egg that sat in the soda. Some of the staining should come off with brushing.
Step 9: Put the eggs back in their original cup.
Step 10: Cover and wait another 48 hours.
Step 11: After another 48 hours, remove the eggs from the cup and set them on a clean, dry paper towel.
Step 12: Observe the differences between the egg that sat in water vs the egg that sat in soda. (The eggshell that sat in soda will have started to dissolve leaving a rubbery, water-balloon-like texture. The eggshell that sat in water should remain unchanged).
Step 13: Ask your child to explain what they think happened to the shell. Ask them how they think this compares to the enamel of their teeth when they drink and eat sugary foods?
Tips for Discussion...If brushed regularly, sugar can be cleaned from teeth using fluoridated toothpaste and gentle brushing. If left on teeth too long, just as you witnessed with the eggshell on day three, the “enamel/shell” will begin to decay.
Conclusion...What is the best beverage for a healthy smile? Here at Tooth Fairy Headquarters, we drink water whenever we are thirsty! Water helps wash the food and debris from your teeth in between brushing and it is a great alternative to soda and sports drinks.