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KS2: Oral Hygiene

In this lesson, students learn how they can prevent tooth decay. The activities demonstrate the importance of brushing teeth twice a day to reduce plaque, and how much sugar many common drinks contain.

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

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.

Main activity:
  • Attack the plaque
  • Sugary drinks
Main Activity video
Extension activities:
  • Tooth brushing diary
Curriculum links


  • Health and prevention


  • Working scientifically
  • Animals, including humans


  • Reading and comprehension
  • Writing
Supporting Materials
Teacher sheets
KS2 Oral hygiene teacher guidance
KS2 Attack the plaque - video transcript
Student handouts
SH1 Tooth brushing diary chart