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Mouth Bacteria?

based on 45 ratings
Author: GlompyDani

It's time to get to sleep, but you're feeling hungry, so you grab a tasty snack before bedtime. That hit the spot!

Eating that late-night apple means you have to go brush your teeth again. Would it hurt to skip just this once? How will the extra germs affect your teeth? Let's find out! In this experiment, you'll be testing different types of food to find out which kind produces the most bacteria in your mouth.

Problem:

Which type of food produces the most mouth bacteria?

Materials:

  • 5 Premade Petri dishes with Agar
  • 5 cotton swabs
  • Apple
  • Potato chips
  • Bread
  • Gummy worms
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Water
  • Small sticky labels
  • Marker
  • Notebook
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Camera

Procedure:

  1. Using the marker, write "Control" on a label, and stick it to the bottom of your first dish.
  2. Brush your teeth and gargle with water.
  3. Swab the inside of your mouth by gently rubbing the cotton swab on the inside of your cheek.
  4. Rub the swab onto the agar of the first dish. Rub it lightly, and try spreading the saliva, or spit from your mouth, into a straight line.
  5. Write "Apple" on another label, and stick it to your second dish.
  6. Eat a few bites of the apple.
  7. Swab the inside of your mouth.
  8. Rub the swab onto the agar of the second dish like you did in step 5.
  9. Brush your teeth and gargle with water.
  10. Write "Chips" on another label, and stick it to your third dish.
  11. Eat a few potato chips.
  12. Swab the inside of your mouth.
  13. Rub the swab onto the agar of the third dish.
  14. Brush your teeth and gargle with water.
  15. Write "Bread" on another label, and stick it to your fourth dish.
  16. Eat a few bites of the bread.
  17. Swab the inside of your mouth.
  18. Rub the swab onto the agar of the fourth dish.
  19. Brush your teeth and gargle with water.
  20. Write "Gummy" on another label, and stick it to your fifth dish.
  21. Eat a few gummy worms.
  22. Swab the inside of your mouth.
  23. Rub the swab onto the agar of the fifth dish.
  24. Cover all five dishes and place them side by side in a dark, dry area.
  25. Think about the food that your parents only let you have on special occasions, such as birthday parties. What food do they warn you about? Why do you think your parents don't want you to eat these very much? Write down your notes in your notebook.
  26. Using your thoughts from Step 26, make a guess at which dish will produce the most bacteria, and why you think your guess is correct. Write down this guess—called a hypothesis—in your notebook.
  27. After a full day, bring your five dishes to a well-lit area.
  28. Write down any observations—things or changes you notice—about what happened in each dish. Were there any changes? What is different from before? What are the differences between the dishes?
  29. Using your camera, take a picture of every dish. Print the photos, and tape them into your notebook.

Results:

All the food should have grown bacteria, but the apple and gummy worms should have produced much more bacteria.

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