Tuesday, 7 December 2010

You want the tooth...

From left the teeth were in apple juice, vinegar, coke, water and milk
Things we learned from our dental experiment.

No one knows what to do with their children's baby teeth. That is no one except sister-in-law A (aka Healthandsafety) who suggested we carry out an experiment on ours. What else would you do? Make jewellery out of them or keep them in the drawer forever.

Baby teeth don't last forever. In the course of discussions about our experiment, the lovely J told me she'd found what she supposed were her baby teeth in her mother's dressing table. What she found were empty twists of tissue and some dust.

Coca cola does not dissolve teeth overnight. In fact, a week of being submerged leaves teeth brown and pitted, but entirely still there. Kind of disappointing this one.

Apple juice grows a splendid mould in a week. Much more interesting than the accelerated decay of teeth was the green fur on top of the liquid. The tooth underneath was most damaged by a week's immersion. Very nasty-looking indeed (I believe that's a scientific term).

Milk does not pour well after a week. However, once removed from the solidified mess, the tooth looked pretty good. If anything, better than it started.

Vinegar starts smelling bad and doesn't really change. It does turn the tooth dark and brittle, though.

Apple juice is worse than coke for teeth, milk is better than water, which is better than vinegar. So there you have it.

An lesson isn't always communicated as intended.
Me: "So what did we learn from our experiment?"
Boy One: "Not to drink vinegar."
Boy Two: "Coke isn't as bad as you say it is."
Me: "Well. Yes. But, look, how bad is apple juice and you drink it every day. Do you think this makes you want to clean your teeth regularly to stop this happening?"
Boy One: "Not really. I'm not going to keep my teeth in apple juice for a whole week."
Boy Two: "And it'd be cool to have teeth like that. Like a pirate. Ooooh Arrrgh."

Methodology: We put the teeth into glasses of the liquids on the kitchen windowsill for a week which was as long as I could put up with them there.

Caption: from left the teeth were in apple juice, vinegar, coke, water and milk

PS There's an experiment in condensing a pink saline solution going on in the sitting room at the moment. I bet you're on tenterhooks for that report.


  1. Fascinating stuff - and rather annoying that healthy juice is more damaging. Must remember to give mine a straw so the juice doesn't swish around the mouth as much!

  2. I was a bit surprised too. I was trying to use it as a 'clean your teeth properly' message, but I'm not sure it worked.

  3. Wow - that is fascinating - wait til I show my mum. She used to allow me to take a drink of coke to bed!!

  4. Very cool, the fruit juice v. coke is interesting isn't it?


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