Losing baby teeth and getting permanent teeth are a part of growing and changing. Now is an important time to learn the benefits of good dental health. Discover the various functions of different kinds of teeth, find out why we lose our baby teeth, learn how dentists and hygienists help care for our teeth, as well as the proper techniques for brushing and flossing.
Learn about the different parts of your teeth and how and why to keep them healthy.
- Students will understand that teeth are important for speaking and eating.
- Students will know the location of each of the three types of baby teeth and understand their uses.
- Incisors exist in the front part of a person's mouth; there are four on the top part of the mouth and four on the bottom part of the mouth. Incisors function to bite and cut food, like a knife.
- A person has four pointed teeth, which lie next to the incisors, called canine teeth. The points on the top of the canines allow them to tear food.
- Molars are behind the canines. The flat and wide surface of the molars allows them to grind food into bits that can be swallowed and digested easily.
- Students will recognize the two main parts of a tooth.
- The top part of a tooth is called the crown; it sits on top of the gums. Enamel, a hard and white substance, covers the crown. Underneath the enamel coating is a soft material called dentin.
- Below the crown, the root grows into the jawbone; its job is to hold the tooth in place.
- Students will understand that a person has two sets of teeth in his or her lifetime, and know the characteristics of each set.
- The first set of teeth, called baby teeth, begins to grow in the mouth long before the child is born. When the person is about 6 months old, the first baby teeth begin to show. Baby teeth will continue to grow until the person is about two or three years old, at which point there are ten teeth on both the top and bottom of the mouth. Baby teeth are small and not very hard; consequently, they do not last very long. Baby teeth are usually lost starting at age six or seven.
- The second set of teeth, called permanent teeth, grows inside a person's mouth long before the person loses his or her baby teeth. When a person is about three years old, the roots of his baby teeth begin to dissolve. As the permanent teeth grow, they begin to push on the baby teeth. Lacking strong roots, the baby teeth loosen. Permanent teeth are larger and much harder than baby teeth. One can grow up to 32 permanent teeth. People have most of their permanent teeth by the time they are 12 years old; however, the wisdom teeth may not come until age 16-25. Because people have only one set of permanent teeth, they must take good care of them.
- Students will understand how to properly care for teeth.
- One should go to the dentist twice a year. The dentist will clean the person's teeth and check them to make sure they are healthy.
- Brushing and flossing should be done two times a day, once after breakfast and once after dinner. When one eats, bits of food stick to the person's teeth and cause plaque to form, which leads to cavities.
- Proper Brushing Technique: The brush should be placed against the teeth and tilted up or down to gently press the soft bristles into the gums. Then, the brush is moved back and forth carefully in small sweeps or in a circular motion. All areas of the teeth, including the tops, should be brushed. It is also a good idea to brush the tongue gently in a forward motion.
- Proper Flossing Technique: The floss should be moved carefully back and forth between the teeth until it reaches the gums. Then, the floss should be run up and down the sides of both teeth until the bits of food are removed. One should be gentle while flossing, because it can damage the gums.
- Though all foods can cause plaque, foods that contain a lot of sugar can encourage the formation of cavities. These foods should be avoided.
- Before viewing the video
- Make a class graph of how many students have been to the dentist. On one side, show the ages in the class in six-month increments. On the top, show the number of visits to the dentist. Have those who went to the dentist tell about their experience and why they went. Watch the video to discover more about teeth and proper care.
- After viewing the video
- Tooth Quiz Show: Make a set of cards with the following words and phrases: 20 teeth, 32 teeth, baby teeth, permanent teeth, need these to speak, need these to chew, incisors, canines, molars, crown, enamel, dentin, gums. Hold up or read a card. Select a student that raises his/her hand to come in front of the class and state his/her name in the "microphone" (a pencil will suffice). Ask the "contestant" to say a little about his/her life (just for fun). The "contestant" then must explain the word or phrase on the card. If the "contestant" needs help, another student can be selected to provide assistance. Be sure that the "contestants" receive applause for correct responses.
Helpful and Harmful Foods: Give each student a quarter sheet of regular drawing paper. The students are to draw pictures of their favorite foods, cut them out, and label them on the back with their names (one food per student). Take a large sheet of butcher paper and create two columns: Helpful Foods and Harmful Foods. Have the students tell what foods they drew and decide whether each food is helpful or harmful to teeth. Attach the pictures in the appropriate columns. Discuss the results and what might be done to improve eating habits.
- Teeth Change
- About Your Teeth
- Teeth Have Jobs
- Parts of a Tooth
- Baby Teeth and Permanent Teeth
- Taking Care of Your Teeth
- Plaque and Cavities
- Eating Healthy Foods