The Tooth in the Soda Trick

No PopMany nutrition experts will tell you that sugary soft drinks are a major contributor to the current epidemic of childhood obesity. A 12-ounce can of your average soda has over 160 calories and zero nutritional value. But we’re surrounded by a soft drink culture, as any family who’s visited a theme park or fast food restaurant will tell you. So how do we say ‘no’ without falling into the forbidden fruit trap?

Try this science experiment with your kids: When someone loses a baby tooth (we recommend waiting ’til the 4th or 5th, when this is less of an event) hang on to it. If the tooth fairy is still a member of your family, explain that she always wants parents to keep 1 tooth for this purpose, and give the reward anyway.

Fill a clear, small juice glass with carbonated soda (cola works best) and have your child drop the tooth into the glass. Over several hours you’ll see that the soda will eat away at the tooth enamel, and finally the tooth will dissolve entirely.

This easy demonstration gives your child (and you!) a very visual image of what that stuff is capable of. Chances are that Big Gulp at 7-11 won’t seem nearly as yummy in the future.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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