Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:32 pm

Tooth decay

Postby etierney » Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:36 pm

I want to do a project on which beverage causes the most tooth decay. My question is: What do I use for teeth? What substance would be most like the composition of real teeth?
Thank you.

Former Expert
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:31 am

Postby kathrynshewey » Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:50 pm

You are off to a great start with your project idea. You might try using egg shells as an alternative to teeth, as egg shells and tooth enamel are nearly made up of the same things; calcium carbonate.

Good luck with your project.

Former Expert
Posts: 1019
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:43 am
Occupation: Research Hydrologist

Postby ChrisG » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:52 am

Hi etierney,
Here is a very good article on tooth composition and dissolution. Some of the chemistry might be unfamiliar to you, depending on your grade level, so please ask if you have questions. ... sphate.htm

If you do use eggshells, keep in mind that those do not actually have the same composition as teeth. You'll see in the article above that teeth are composed of hydroxyapatite or biological apatite. Eggshells are composed of calcium carbonate. ... tion.shtml

Other students who have done this experiment have used animal teeth or even autoclaved human wisdom teeth that were probably obtained from an oral surgeon. ... istry.html

Good luck!

Former Expert
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:28 pm

Postby Willz » Fri Oct 19, 2007 5:14 pm

As ChrisG mentioned, teeth is made mostly from hydroxyapatite, but bone also has a similar composition, but does not decay like teeth does. This article explains the difference between bone and teeth, and points out the differences between the two: ... -teeth.htm

For your experiment, you might try asking your dentist if he/she has any teeth that they have not thrown away or do not need that were obtained from patients.

Return to “Life, Earth, and Social Sciences”