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Effect of carbonated drinks on the erosion of tooth enamelFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to find out if carbonated soft drinks can really cause the erosion of tooth enamel. Testing was done by immersing teeth in Coke, Sprite and root beer for a few days

Hypothesis

Immersing teeth in soft drinks will cause tooth erosion and the teeth will lose some of their weight.

Scientific Terms

Tooth enamel, acids, pH, phosphoric acid, citric acid, ascorbic acid

Background

Tooth erosion by soft drinks

Soft drinks are carbonated beverages that can be consumed at room temperature or after being chilled in a refrigerator. Some popular soft drinks are cola drinks, orange soda, sparkling soda, root beer and ice cream soda. Most of the soft drinks contain little or no alcohol and are popular among children and adults.

Soft drinks normally contain acids that can dissolve the enamel of teeth. The pH levels of the soft drinks that we consume are between 2.5 to 4.0. Any solution with a pH level below 5.0 is strong enough to cause erosion in our teeth. Even the natural juices found in fruits like lemons and oranges contain citric acid and ascorbic acid, which can eat away at our tooth enamel.

The most common offenders in soft drinks are phosphoric acid and citric acid. Although occasional drinking of soft drinks will not do much harm to our teeth and health, it is the habitual drinkers that have much to worry about. Sipping the drinks slowly will only prolong the exposure of the teeth to acid and will only cause more damage to one’s tooth enamel.
 

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
10
Time required:
1 hour for preparation, 5 days for observation
Material availability:
Very easily found
Safety concerns:

None