Teeth cleaning gum lands pupils big prize

From left, TV presenter Dallas Campbell, prize pupils Stephanie Shek and Miriam Cummins and Dom McDonald (RSC).
From left, TV presenter Dallas Campbell, prize pupils Stephanie Shek and Miriam Cummins and Dom McDonald (RSC).

Putting science to practical use has earned two Morpeth school pupils a national accolade.

Miriam Cummins and Stephanie Shek were awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Prize at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair.

The pair, who attend Chantry Middle School and Technology College, developed a unique type of chewing gum that actually cleans your teeth while chewing.

By increasing the stickiness of the gum and including ingredients found in toothpaste, this gum removes plaque.

Their project was chosen from more than 200 finalists from across the UK that demonstrated excellence within the field of chemistry.

The prize will include a work experience, industry visit or ‘behind the scenes’ opportunity.

Dr Janet Hails, Fellow of the RSC and lead judge for its special prize, said: “The competition this year was fierce, but the Morpeth Chantry pupils stood out from the crowd.

“They took ownership of their experiment and weren’t afraid to make changes to improve it. We are sure they have promising careers ahead of them, whatever they choose to study.”

Paul Jackson, chief executive of EngineeringUK which organises the annual fair, added: “It’s easy to see why this idea stood out to the judges, but all the finalists are worthy of mention.

“This glimpse into the minds of the scientists and inventors of tomorrow promises great things for the future.”