Friday, February 26, 2010

Talking teeth

Did you know that February is National Children's Dental Health Month?  It is.  And in honor of this special month, I have the pleasure of putting on my scrubs and talking teeth with kids.  I LOVE it.

You know, I enjoy staying home with my kids so much that I don't often think about returning to work.  But once you get me talking about sugar consumption, the bacterial species in plaque, and what to expect at a dental check up, I get this natural high and find myself longing to get my hands in people's mouths again.  (OK, that just sounded wrong.  But it's true!)

This year, I had the chance to teach five preschool classes, Whitney's kindergarten class, and Brandon's third grade. 

Me and my friend, Timmy the Tooth

Removing sugar bugs

I've been presenting to preschoolers every year since 2006, so I'm comfortable with my little presentation and the kids enjoy it.  But I didn't do 2nd grade last year and so this was a big jump to do 3rd graders.  I had to raise my game.  And it involved sacrifice.

I decided to do a science experiment with them to show the effect that acid has on our teeth.  We talked about plaque (aka dental biofilm) and how there are more than 200 species of bacteria that live in our mouths.  Nice.  Then we discussed how Streptococcus mutans--the bacteria responsible for tooth decay--consumes the sugar that we eat and leaves acid as a waste product.  Finally, we measured the pH of several liquids and placed chicken bones (to represent teeth) in the liquids to test the effect.  

Now, the obvious question here is where did an anti-chicken-bone girl get a bunch of bones?  I lucked out.  Last week was my monthly Girls' Night Out.  We ate at Lucky 32 (love that place!).  Our server mentioned that they have pulled chicken in some of their dishes.  That gave me an idea... "Do you think I could have some of those bones?"  She looked at me like I was crazy, but asked the chef and he said yes.  Thank you! I pictured these perfectly clean bones that had been stripped of all meat, but that wasn't the case.

They just pull off the good stuff for their dishes.  So guess who had to do the rest of the dirty work?  Me!  Agh!  It took all of my will power to remove the rest of the chicken remains.  Only in the name of science.

Our bones are currently soaking in everything from lemon juice to milk.  Fun stuff.  We get to follow-up next week for the results.  

I love teeth.


Ang said...

I bet you're the GREATEST occupation week mom! Whenever they ask for people to volunteer to come talk about their jobs I know that Forrest and I would be a total bust. Regional Sales Manager for an adhesives company and freelance writer/adjunct professor just don't translate as well to kids as talking about tooth bugs and doing experiments on chicken bones.

And I think it's hilarious that you're so freaked out about chicken bones but actually LIKE putting your hands in people's mouths!!

Sandy said...

The things we do for our

Jared said...

OH my those chicken bones do look yucky. But you totally crack me up about your anti meat thing. Who are you strange girl? But I totally agree about wearing comfortable scrubs. So jealous.

Natalie said...

Jared = Natalie

carmar76 said...

It sounds like you have EXACTLY the right attitude to work in dentistry. Follow your passion! : )

amy said...

I agree with Angie. How do you not get grossed out by putting your hands in people's mouths?

I bet the kids love your presentation!

Grandma Sweat said...

Andrea - If I remember right, you not only don't like meat in general, but you REALLY don't like meat "on the bone" so you are a rock star for getting those chicken bones taken care of. You look so cute in those pictures and after your infectious enthusiasm I'll bet half of those kid's parents will be scratching their heads saying, "Since when did Bryson start flossing?"
Mom Sweat