Young Delta girls opt for water, not pop, after science experiment

DELTA — Two young girls from Heath Elementary are among many students hoping to contend in the Delta school district science fair happening Wednesday, March 11.

Ayela Arif and Sukhmandip Kang, both 11 years old and in Grade 6, are vying for a spot in the competition after they presented their experiment on March 2 at their school’s science fair.

"It’s about what beverages can stain your teeth the most and how different beverages can harm your teeth," Ayela said about the girls’ project, in which they dipped eggshells in three different types of drinks to see their effect on teeth.

"We hypothesized that Coca-Cola would stain teeth the most because it has a pH level of 2.5," added Sukhmandip.

The girls used chai tea, Coca-Cola and coffee as their test subjects and used hollowed-out eggs to steep in the beverages for five hours.

They explained that coffee has a pH level of 5.0 while tea has a pH level of 7.0.

But why eggshells? Well, the girls had a very scientific answer.

"We took eggshells because of the similarities between teeth and eggshells," Ayela said.

Sukhmandip added, "because they’re both made out of calcium."

No one can argue that sounds pretty smart. Their teacher, Rachel Stewart, thinks their method gives them a shoe-in to get into the district competition.

"They did a lot of research and having a whole colour meter up, I thought that was really cool," she told the Now.

And how did it turn out? Not exactly as they expected.

The girls suspected that the beverage with the most acidity (Coca-Cola) would have the most detrimental effect on teeth, while the drink with the lowest acidity would have a lesser effect. Turns out that chai tea, with a pH level of seven, showed the most stains.

"Our hypothesis was wrong, actually," Ayela admitted. "I asked my dentist about it and she said it depends on how much of the beverage you drink daily. If you drink two or three servings a day, then it will really harm your teeth."

Coke has 25 teaspoons of sugar, Sukhmandip said.

Although the results weren’t what they expected, the girls said doing the experiment changed how they look at what they drink. Asked if they would opt for water instead of pop at a restaurant now that they know the damage it can cause, the girls both answered a resounding, "Yes."

The 2015 Delta District Science Fair, called "Minds on Discovery" takes place at Scottsdale Centre in North Delta on Wednesday (March 11).

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