Windows Into Wonderland
Close up of an elk jawbone showing decay; plant life covered with a white dposit near a hot spring.
TV Guide showing the cast of characters back next
remote control

Where the Bison Roam

Act 1,  Scene 4,  Page 23 of 47

The water and soil and, in turn, the plants of thermal areas often contain unusually high levels of fluoride. When the elk and bison eat these plants, there is a much higher concentration of fluoride in their diets which results in early tooth decay. It’s interesting that a certain amount of fluoride is necessary for healthy teeth, but too much is harmful.

Hot springs and geysers also coat the ground and surrounding vegetation with deposits of silica. Silica is one of the main ingredients of glass. When an elk or bison eats a fresh sedge salad found around a hot spring, chances are good that the leaves have a silica dressing! You could imagine what your teeth would look like if you were to grind them with glass every day instead of brushing them!

fluoride—a compound of a pale-yellow gaseous element
—the crystalline compound of silicon and oxygen

back     |      next >