Did you know that sugar that is added to drinks joins with the bacteria in our mouths to form acid?
Many drinks also have acid added to them to stop them going off. Acid is a chemical that can dissolve things – we have it in our stomach to help us breakdown the food we eat. Our stomach should be very well lined though so that the acid doesn’t damage the stomach lining too. Imagine what acid can do to your teeth then if you drink it over and over again! This is one reason why it is so important to brush your teeth, because if the acid sits on your teeth it can start to cause holes and your dentist (and your mum!) will not be very impressed!
This is a great experiment that you can do at home to have a look and see what acid can do to your teeth. Here are the things that you will need:
1. Six different drinks:
- Sparkling water
- Tap water
- Tonic water
- Apple juice
- An energy drink
2. Six glasses
3. Six pieces of bone – you can either collect some bones from your dinner for example if you’ve had a roast meal you can use the carcass. Or you can go to your butcher and ask for a little piece of bone. You only need a very small piece but make sure each bit is roughly the same size – a slice of bone marrow cut into 6 pieces works well.
Now here is what you’re going to do:
- Put a piece of bone in each of the six glasses. Now add each one of your drinks to a different glass (make sure there is the same amount of liquid in each one).
- Now here’s the fun bit – you get to guess what is going to happen! You could write this down on a piece of paper, or use the chart below to record your ideas.
- Leave your experiment for two weeks.
- I know we’re using pieces of bone but it gives us an idea of what would happen to teeth if we covered them in these drinks because it’s got some of the same things in it. If you’ve got a tooth that’s just fallen out then you can use that in your experiment instead!
- After two weeks carefully take each ‘tooth’ out of the glass and write down what you’ve found. You’ll get some interesting results! It’s important to remember though that we don’t normally soak our teeth in acid like this, but you can see the effect it can have if you’re drinking sugary drinks every day.