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Smile Bright! Tooth Care

Young people will gain a better understanding of the importance of good oral hygiene.

Ages

9-14 Years Old

Duration

20 Minutes

What You Need

  • Several (at least 3) hard-boiled eggs
  • Several clear containers for holding soda (cola or other carbonated beverage), vinegar and water

Resources

Healthy Families Newsletter

English (pdf)

Spanish (pdf)

To find out how this lesson fits Physical Education and Health Education standards click here.

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps young people understand why it is important to brush and floss their teeth. The youth will observe effects of corrosive liquids on eggshells as a demonstration of how harsh materials affect tooth enamel.

Instructor Notes

Before facilitating this lesson, you may want to review the following information about dental care for children. These facts can be shared with young people during your discussions.

There are many more reasons to keep your teeth clean than just having a nice smile, though that’s a good one too! Tooth decay (also known as cavities or dental caries) affects children in the United States more than any other chronic (long-lasting) infectious disease. If not prevented or properly treated, it can cause infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.

The combination of dental sealants and fluoride has the potential to nearly eliminate tooth decay in school-age children, but good habits are also still a part of the equation.

Brushing your teeth twice every day keeps your teeth—and your gums—clean and healthy. Even if you don’t have permanent teeth yet, you still need to brush. If you don’t brush, the permanent teeth growing underneath can be damaged by the tooth decay that can be growing on the surface.

And you need to brush permanent teeth every day because that’s the best way to keep them healthy. Those teeth need to last your whole life! Healthy teeth are one sign of good health.

Activity

Use hard-boiled eggs to demonstrate the impact of different substances on teeth.

  1. Explain to young people that eggshells are similar to the enamel (hard surface) on our teeth and just like eggshells, our teeth can be damaged if we don’t keep them clean and healthy.
  2. Fill one cup with soda (cola or other carbonated sugar beverage) and place an egg it.
  3. Fill one cup with vinegar and place an egg in it.
  4. Fill one cup with water and place an egg in it.
  5. Explain to young people that everyday for several days they should check on the eggs to see what’s happening with them.
  6. After several days (3 to 5) remove the eggs from the liquid. Ask the youth to describe what they notice. The youth will see that the egg in the soda is stained, the egg in the vinegar is soft and pitted, and the egg in the water is fairly intact. Explain how cola, vinegar or other substances can cause damage to our teeth just like it did to the egg shell. Brushing and flossing and drinking plenty of water help to keep our teeth clean and healthy.
  7. Ask the young people what they think about the experiment, and whether there is anything they’ll change about how they treat their teeth now that they’ve done the experiment.

Conclusion

Remind young people that taking care of their teeth is an important part of living a healthy life. Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, so that families can continue discussing dental health at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

Get brushing: February is oral care month!

Additional Instructor Resources

Healthy Me Checklist

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