Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Toothpaste Genetics?

The following picture is part of an ad that ran in McCall's Magazine in 1971.
Weird models...right?  But beyond that, the ad raises some questions.  What do they mean by "strong"? (Does brushing make teeth strong or does it help keep strong teeth healthy?)  Are they suggesting that the parents brushing behavior can influence the traits of their child?

Lets examine some possible student answers to the question posed in the ad (I've modeled this after Paige Keeley's Formative Assessment Probes).  Here's what four kids say:

Alice: Yes...strong teeth is something a child will inherit from the parents.
Bobby: Yes...brushing your teeth makes the teeth stronger so parents who brush will pass strong teeth on to their child.
Camille: No...Only DNA is passed from parent to child and brushing your teeth doesn't affect your DNA.
Dominique: Yes...if the parents brush their teeth the child is more likely to brush giving the child stronger teeth.

Which student do you agree with the most?  Why?

Bobby's answer is the weakest.  It demonstrates a common misconception that traits acquired during one's lifetime can be passed to offspring.  This idea is attributed to the French naturalist, Lamark.  Alice's answer is true, characteristics like tooth shape and tooth enamel are inherited.  However, Alice's answer doesn't address the effect of brushing.  Camille and Dominique both have accurate answers.  As Camille says, tooth brushing doesn't effect DNA and therefore, can't be an inherited trait.  Dominique looks at it differently focusing on the ability of the behavior of the parents to influence the behavior of the child.  If the focus is on behavior then yes, it seems reasonable that parental brushing will promote good dental care in the child.

Here's the full ad.  I think it's safe to assume that many people were confused by this ad and assumed that it was promoting a Lamarkian viewpoint.  As the ad writers tell it, "In the ad we were trying to say that if the parents use Crest, chances are the child will use it too."  Then they add "But we didn't say it very well." 

Thanks!  And keep brushing after every meal.


  1. This article is amazing. Gum disease, an issue that affects many individuals, can be reduced with the use of a specific toothpaste. Gum inflammation can develop into periodontitis, a more serious condition that can spread throughout the body and destroy bone and connective tissue in the mouth, leading to tooth loss.

  2. It's a great article. The presence of gum disease, a problem that many people face, can be decreased with the usage of a certain toothpaste. a more dangerous condition that can spread throughout the body, causing tooth loss by destroying the bone and connective tissue in the mouth.

  3. Our commitment to helping your business thrive. Prior to kick starting any project, the skilled in-house professionals at App Maisters will first have a closer look at your concept and MVP. Following this step, we will schedule a brainstorming session to polish the concept and get started with the design and coding phase. Last but not least, we will help you launch your new application and upon request, assist with promotion.

  4. After my ex-husband severely damaged my health physically, I became very careful about everything I eat, drink and use.

    After the divorce I began to carefully study all the information about the products used. Unfortunately, health can no longer be returned, but I would not want to worsen what I have

  5. Awesome article. I would want to thank you for giving this information. I feel pleased after reading the post.

  6. Wow, this blog post magazine has informative post. Looking for top-notch mobile app development service providers to turn your innovative ideas into reality? You’re in the right place. RipenApps, is known for its exceptional app development solutions. Their commitment to delivering user-centric and high-performing apps is truly impressive.

  7. Unveiling the intriguing world of Toothpaste Genetics—because science is everywhere! Just as curiosity sparks discovery, our essay writing services uae fuels academic exploration, offering support tailored to your educational journey.