Bacteria can grow on teeth, clumping together to form a sticky substance called dental plaque. You will see this in your own mouth as a creamy line around your teeth or you may feel it as a furry layer with your tongue. If plaque is not brushed away regularly or there is a high frequency of sugar in the diet, the bacteria within the plaque can lead to tooth decay (caries).

Dental health is extremely important; over 23% of children in England have tooth decay and it is the main reason for children aged 5 to 9 being admitted to hospital. The good news is that tooth decay can be prevented by limiting the number of times we eat foods and drinks with added sugar, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and regularly seeing the dentist to check the health of our teeth and gums.

In this lesson plan, students learn what plaque is and how it can lead to tooth decay. Through an experiment, they identify how hard it can be to brush away plaque if left for too long, and that, alongside brushing regularly, avoiding sugary foods can also reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand what dental plaque is and how it forms
  • Understand which foods and drinks cause tooth decay
  • Understand the consequences of tooth decay
  • Understand how to brush teeth effectively
  • Understand that limiting sugary foods and drinks can reduce tooth decay

Activities Include:

  • Main Activities:
  • Attack the Plaque
  • Sugary Drinks
  • Extension Activity:
  • Tooth Brushing Diary

Curriculum Links:

  • PHSE:
    • Health and prevention
  • Science:
    • Working scientifically
    • Animals, including humans
  • English:
    • Reading and comprehension
    • Writing