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Art: Owl describing diagram of tooth

Dental Health Discussion Ideas

Use these resources for interactive discussions with children about their oral health. 


Discussion Idea

Healthy Habits

Name some things that you do to keep your body healthy. There are daily health habits that everyone needs to practice, such as eating a proper diet, exercising, bathing, and sleeping. Caring for your mouth is as important as caring for the rest of your body. Cleaning teeth and gums removes a sticky film of plaque. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

MyPlate Explanation

Show the USDA 'Choose My Plate' chart to children. Explain/review the food groups and why each is important for healthy bodies and teeth. List the five main food groups on a chalkboard or easel (grain, fruit, vegetable, dairy, and protein). Have children discuss some of their favorite foods and write them under the appropriate group. Bring enough healthy snacks to share with the children and ask them to identify its food group. Free reproducible MyPlate sheets for children are available from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Primary Teeth

Have children raise their hand if they had a tooth that fell out. Ask one or two children to describe what it feels like without the tooth. Discuss baby teeth. Some teeth are supposed to come out. They are called the "baby" teeth or "primary" teeth. After a baby tooth comes out, another tooth will come in. This new tooth must last for many, many years. You must take extra special care by brushing each day. (See also: Eruption charts: Primary Teeth and Permanent Teeth)

Tooth Function

Ask children to make a list of what foods can be eaten without teeth and what foods must be chewed. Without teeth you couldn't chew crunchy foods like carrots, nuts, or apples. Have children pronounce the alphabet and tell which sounds are made by using the teeth, tongue, and lips. If you didn't have any teeth, it wouldn't be easy to say teeth, toys, or toothbrush.

Easy-to-do Activities

The following activities from the National Children's Dental Health Month Program Planning Guide contain easy-to-do activities that can be done at any time. National Children's Dental Health Month takes place every February and strives to help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.   

Dental Health Speaker

Contact the local dental society in your area to inquire about having a dental health month speaker come to your classroom.   

Print and Video Resources

The American Dental Association produces a wide variety of educational materials, including pamphlets, posters, teaching packets and audiovisuals which can be viewed and purchased through the ADA Catalog

Visit the For Kids video section of MouthHealthy to view the American Dental Association’s award-winning public service announcements, Dudley and Friends. 

Drinks Destroy Teeth

A program from the Indiana Dental Association, Drinks Destroy Teeth, is an educational outreach program to inform the public about the potentially harmful oral health effects drinking acidic and sugary drinks.