How could I test the effectiveness of a toothpaste on removing plaque?I want to test a toothpaste on its effectiveness in terms of dental plaque removal. The test must give accurate and measurable...

How could I test the effectiveness of a toothpaste on removing plaque?

I want to test a toothpaste on its effectiveness in terms of dental plaque removal. The test must give accurate and measurable results and can be done in home. You can also add other ideas on how I could compare toothpaste products. All ideas were greatly appreciated. :)

Asked on by jaz38

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

This is how the body of scientific knowledge is advanced, by incorporating a set of steps known as the scientific method.  The first step is asking a question; what is it in the toothpaste you think makes a difference at removing plaque?  Once you have a fix on what ingredient you think makes a difference, you put your beliefs at this point in time in the form of an educated guess, called a hypothesis.  The hypothesis could take the form of "The tootpaste that had the most of ingredient X will be the most effective at plaque removal."

The next thing is to experiment with different toothpastes that have different amounts of ingredient X.  You need a way to measure the amount of plaque removal.  This could be something as simple as using photographs of the teeth over a period of time, such as a week.  The pictures that show the largest change in plaque removal would be evidence to support your hypothesis, if those pictures were of the toothpaste with the most of ingredient X.

Once you have analyzed your evidence, then you are in position to make your conclusion.  The conclusion either confirms your hypothesis or falsifies it.  If you can explain why your hypothesis was not correct, often that is just as valuable as a hypothesis that was correct.

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