little girl at the dentist

Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist

What are teeth made of? How can you keep them healthy and strong, and why is it so important to do that? What does a dentist do? How does a person become a dentist? In this KET “community helpers” electronic field trip for primary grades, students follow along as a young boy named Jeremy gets a dental checkup and learns about tooth care.

The topics covered include

  • how to brush and floss
  • how eating healthy foods helps your teeth
  • the importance of regular checkups with your dentist
  • the work of a dentist and the tools and instruments dentists use
  • common procedures at the dentist’s office
  • how to become a dentist

This field trip shows kids that dentists’ offices are not scary. Instead, they are friendly places where caring people help us make sure that our own strong, healthy teeth will be chomping away for a lifetime.

Grade Levels: 0-3
Resource Types: Video and Handouts

Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist

Travel with Jeremy on this electronic field trip to a dentist’s office where he learns the importance of teeth, how to care for his teeth, and how the dentist helps him keep his teeth healthy.

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Pre-Viewing Activity

Before showing the Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist to students, work with them to develop a K-W-L chart to determine what they already know about teeth and dental health.

The following probe questions may be included in the discussion:

  1. Have you ever been to the dentist?
  2. Dentists are community helpers. How do they help us stay healthy?
  3. How are teeth important to us?
  4. How can we keep our teeth healthy?
  5. What questions do you have about teeth or dental health?

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After Viewing

After viewing the video use the discussion questions, vocabulary activities, classroom extensions, handouts, and assessments to enrich and reinforce the learning experience.

Discussion Questions

After watching the Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist, use these questions to gauge students’ understanding of what they saw in the program and to spark a class discussion of topics related to dental health.

  1. How does Dr. Banahan help Jeremy keep his teeth healthy?
  2. How does the dental hygienist help?
  3. Tell how the following dental equipment is important:
    • the special dental chair Jeremy sits in when Dr. Banahan examines his teeth
    • the bright light that shines into Jeremy’s mouth
    • the X-ray machine
  4. What can Jeremy do to keep his teeth healthy?

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Vocabulary Activities

The following classroom activities reinforce vocabulary heard in KET’s Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist. For online reference, terms and definitions are listed on the vocabulary words page.

Vocabulary Match-Up

  • Students will work in groups of four. Make a copy of the dental health vocabulary words for each group. Cut apart the words and definitions and put the pieces in a baggie or envelope. Finally, make an overhead transparency of the dental health vocabulary page.
  • Reinforce the vocabulary by having students work in groups to match words with definitions. Have students tape or glue their words and definitions to construction paper.
  • Students can check their work using the overhead transparency of the vocabulary page.


  • Duplicate the Tooth Crossword for each student (Crossword Handout). Have students work independently to complete the crossword.
  • Pair the students off and have partners compare their crosswords. Are their solutions the same? If there are differences, use a printout of the vocabulary page to find the correct words and definitions.

Multiple-Choice Questions

  • Give the five multiple-choice questions on dental health vocabulary (Multiple-Choice Handout) as exit slips, a review, or a quiz.

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Classroom Extensions

The following classroom activities reinforce and extend concepts introduced in KET’s Electronic Field Trip to the Dentist while providing learning opportunities related to math, writing, reading, social studies, science, practical living, and vocational studies. They also include a variety of research and critical/creative thinking skills.

Your Sets of Teeth

ASK: How many teeth do newborns have? What does a baby eat? Why?

DISCUSS: Imagine a baby having all of your teeth! Would that many teeth fit into a baby’s mouth?

Newborns have no teeth that we can see, although their 20 baby teeth are formed under their gums. At first, babies can only drink liquids like milk. Then they eat soft baby food and foods such as applesauce, mashed banana, and mashed vegetables.

Baby teeth begin to push through a baby’s gums when the baby is about 6 months old, starting with the front teeth. By the time a toddler is about 2-1/2 or 3 years old, all 20 baby teeth have appeared.

Would an adult’s teeth fit into your mouth? Your mouth is not the same size as an adult’s mouth. You will have two sets of teeth in your lifetime. The first are your primary or baby teeth. There are 20 primary teeth. Your first set of teeth fit perfectly in your mouth. Later, your primary teeth fall out and your permanent teeth come in. There are 32 of them.

ASK: How many of you have lost a tooth? What was that like? Were you afraid? What happened? Why do you think your first teeth are small primary teeth, and your larger permanent teeth come in later?

DISCUSS: Permanent teeth are larger than baby teeth and wouldn’t fit into your mouth.

When you are about 6 years old, permanent molars in the back of your mouth begin to appear. Your front baby teeth may fall out to make way for permanent teeth. Up to about 12 years old, your permanent teeth replace baby teeth. In your teenage years, the last of your permanent teeth appear. They are molars called wisdom teeth. This set of 32 permanent teeth can last a lifetime if you take care of them.

ACTIVITY: Wash your hands thoroughly. Use a mirror to count the number of teeth you have in your upper jaw. Now count the number of teeth in your lower jaw. Add them together. Wash your hands again. Write the total number of teeth for each student on chart paper or the board. Collect and record the data for all class members. Make a bar graph indicating the number of teeth each student has. (The number will probably range from about 16 to 24 for primary students.)

LOWER PRIMARY STUDENTS: Which class member has the lowest number of teeth? Which class member has the greatest number of teeth?

UPPER PRIMARY STUDENTS: Explore landmark data. What is the range of the number of teeth class members have? What is the mode? The median? The mean (average)?

Uses and Kinds of Teeth

ASK: Do all of the teeth in your mouth look the same? Which are bigger? Which are sharper? Which are flatter? Why do you think you have different sizes and shapes of teeth?

DISCUSS: Teeth are used for different jobs in eating our food. They are different sizes and shapes so they can do different jobs in helping us eat. Each kind of tooth has its own function. The teeth in the front of your mouth have a different shape than the teeth in the back of your mouth because each has a different job to do. Our teeth are also important in helping you talk clearly.

Your teeth have different names depending on their shapes and the jobs they do:

  • Incisors at the front of your mouth are flat teeth used for cutting and slicing food. There are four on the top and four on the bottom.
  • Canines (cuspids), beside the incisors, are pointed teeth used for tearing food. There are two on the top and two on the bottom.
  • Premolars (bicuspids) and molars at the back of your mouth are used for grinding and crushing food.

AMAZING FACT: Tremendous force is put on teeth to grind and chew your food. A molar may crush food with as much as 900 pounds per square inch! In comparison, a five-ton elephant standing on one leg would make a force of 120 pounds per square inch on the ground.

ACTIVITY: Using a mirror, find the four kinds of teeth you have. Locate the incisors. Draw a picture of your incisors. Locate your canines and draw a picture. Now find the premolars and molars in the back of your mouth. Draw a picture. How are these teeth alike? How are they different? Make a chart comparing the kinds of teeth.

ACTIVITY: Keep track of which teeth you use in eating a saltine cracker. Take a saltine cracker and eat it slowly. Which teeth bite the cracker? Which teeth chew the cracker? Does the cracker change as you chew it? What happens to the cracker while you are eating it?

DISCUSS: Incisors bite off bits. Molars chew the cracker. Saliva is mixed with the cracker bits before swallowing. The saliva makes it easier for you to swallow and is the first step in digestion.

ACTIVITY: Upper teeth are attached to bone in the skull, while lower teeth are attached to the jawbone. After cleaning your hands, hold your mouth open by gripping your bottom jaw. Can you close your mouth? When you chew, only your lower jaw moves.

ACTIVITY: List what you have eaten today. Without incisors, which foods would be difficult to eat?

ACTIVITY: You need teeth to speak clearly. Your teeth work with your tongue and lips to make the sounds that make up words. Try saying the word “teeth” without touching your teeth with your tongue. What happens? When you say certain sounds, your tongue presses against your teeth (“th”). In some sounds, you need your upper and lower teeth to make the sound (“c”) or you need your upper teeth and lips (“f”). Say the alphabet slowly and find out which letters need the use of your teeth to say the letter clearly. Make a list of these letters. There are lots of them!

Parts of a Tooth

Tooth Parts Student Handout

DISCUSS: Layers of a Tooth: The inside of a tooth is not the same as the outside. If you sliced a tooth in half and made a cross-section, you would see that a tooth is not the same all the way through. It has several layers:

  • Enamel is the outer white layer that protects your tooth from damage. It is the hardest material in your body. Enamel protects the softer center of the tooth.
  • Dentin makes up most of your tooth. It is a hard yellow bone-like material below the enamel.
  • Pulp is inside the dentin at the center of each tooth. It contains blood vessels that feed the tooth and nerves that allow you to have feelings in your tooth when you eat. The nerves help you feel heat, cold, and pain in your teeth.

DISCUSS: Parts of the Tooth: When a permanent tooth is extracted, you can see all of its parts. When primary teeth come out, you will notice that they have a crown and neck but not a root.

  • The enamel above your gum is called the crown.
  • The neck of the tooth is at the gum line.
  • The root is below the gum and holds your tooth in place in your jawbone.
  • The gum is not a part of your teeth. It is the soft pink skin that covers your jawbone and helps hold your teeth in place.

ACTIVITY: Work with a partner to label the layers of a tooth and the parts of a tooth using Tooth Parts Student Handout.

Taking Care of Your Teeth

Tooth Brushing Chart Handout

DISCUSS: Taking care of your teeth includes keeping them clean, protecting them, and eating nutritious foods. Remember these five things to keep your teeth healthy:

  • Brush twice a day.
  • Floss before bedtime.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Visit the dentist for regular checkups.
  • Use a mouthguard when necessary.

ACTIVITY: Your friend Kayla tells you that she does not need to brush and floss because it takes too much time every day. Write a persuasive letter convincing Kayla about the importance of caring for her teeth.

ACTIVITY: Make up a song or poem about taking good care of your teeth. Share it with your classmates and friends.

DISCUSS: Brushing your teeth helps keep teeth and gums healthy.

HOW: Use a child-size soft-bristled toothbrush and a small dab of toothpaste. Try not to swallow the toothpaste. Gently move the toothbrush up and down and in circles. Brush the top teeth down from the gums. Brush the bottom teeth upward from the gums. Brush flat surfaces. Rinse your mouth with water. It should take about two to four minutes to clean all of your teeth front and back.

WHEN: Brush your teeth at least two times a day, especially after breakfast and before you go to bed. If teeth are cleaned every 24 hours, then bacteria will not make enough acid to damage them.

WHY: Tiny bits of food stay in your mouth when you eat. If you don’t brush, bacteria make acids and plaque. Plaque is the clear sticky layer of food and bacteria that forms on and between teeth when they are not cleaned. Bacteria can grow down into your gums and cause bleeding and swelling. It can gradually harden and become tartar, leading to gum disease and cavities. Cleaning teeth with a toothbrush and floss removes plaque and prevents cavities.

ACTIVITY: Keep a daily calendar of your tooth brushing for one week (Toothbrushing Chart).

ACTIVITY: What is the favorite toothpaste of students in your class? Survey all of the students in your class to find out. Make a list of toothpaste brands and gather your data.

ACTIVITY: Collect toothpaste ads from magazines. Analyze and evaluate the ads. How do the ads persuade you to buy that brand of toothpaste? Do the ads have bright colors? Do they have snappy, persuasive words? Are there eye-catching designs?

ACTIVITY: Pretend you have invented a new toothpaste! What will your new toothpaste taste like? What color will it be? What will you name your toothpaste? Draw a toothpaste tube and write your toothpaste’s name on it. Add color, pictures, and designs. Now make a magazine ad for your new toothpaste. Use words and pictures to persuade people to buy your toothpaste.

DISCUSS: Fluoride helps protect your teeth from cavities by making the enamel stronger. Most city water supplies have fluoride added so your teeth will be protected. Most bottled water does not contain fluoride. If your water supply does not contain fluoride or if you drink only bottled water, use fluoride toothpaste or fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities.

ACTIVITY: Call your local government offices to find out whether fluoride is added to your water supply. Bring in empty toothpaste boxes and try to find the word fluoride on the list of ingredients.

DISCUSS: Flossing removes food particles and plaque from between teeth and under the gum line where toothbrushes can’t reach. You may need help from an adult to floss your teeth. Move the floss back and forth between teeth.

FANTASTIC FACT: Brushing removes only two-thirds of the food particles on your teeth. The other third is between your teeth and needs to be removed by flossing.

LEARNING CENTER ACTIVITY: Collect several Styrofoam egg cartons. Cut off the flat top, saving the egg holder portion. On each egg holder, make a cut 1/2 inch deep. Explain that the cuts are like the tight spaces between our teeth. Provide 12-inch pieces of dental floss. Have students practice “flossing” the cuts.

DISCUSS: Nutrition and Teeth: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and green vegetables contain calcium, a mineral that keeps your teeth strong. The bacteria in your mouth grow and multiply when there is sugar in your mouth. The bacteria and food particles make plaque on your teeth. They make acids that damage the enamel and cause cavities. Starches such as chips and crackers also turn to sugar in your mouth. Saliva reduces the acids made by bacteria. It also mixes with your food to make chewing and swallowing easier. Choose lots of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and milk products to help your teeth stay healthy. Drink water or milk instead of cola. Look at the Food Pyramid. Limit foods from the top section of the Pyramid (the “Use Sparingly” section).

To keep your teeth healthy, avoid drinking sweet drinks such as cola. Avoid snacking on sticky, sugary foods and crackers. If you do snack between meals, eat foods like fruit, cheese, vegetables, and nuts. By eating foods that contain little or no sugar, you can reduce plaque.

REMEMBER: Sugars and Starches + Bacteria = Acids that can cause decay.

ACTIVITY: Sort the following snacks into two groups: (1) Healthy for My Teeth or (2) Not Healthy for My Teeth.

  • carrot sticks
  • cheese
  • potato chips
  • jelly beans
  • celery sticks
  • strawberries
  • cola
  • candy bar
  • grapes

ACTIVITY: Collect food wrappers from a variety of foods. Read the wrappers and sort them according to whether they have sugar or no sugar. Be careful: Sugar may be hidden in foods under names like sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and corn syrup.

ACTIVITY: Acids can destroy enamel on teeth. Demonstrate this process using eggs. Place a whole egg, with the shell, in a glass with vinegar, an acid. Place another egg in a glass of water. After a day, have students observe the two eggshells and record the differences. What effect does acid have on an eggshell?

ACTIVITY: Healthy teeth give you a beautiful smile! Work together to cut out pictures of smiles from magazines. Make a Smile Collage and put it up in your classroom. What a happy feeling!

ACTIVITY: Brainstorm a list of all of the words for eating. Add them to the word wall. Include words such as

  • bite
  • chew
  • devour
  • gnaw
  • gobble
  • nibble
  • peck
  • munch
  • crunch
  • lick

DISCUSS: Visiting the dentist: Your dentist is important in helping keep your teeth healthy. When you go to the dentist for a checkup, your teeth will be cleaned, removing plaque. Plaque contains germs that make the acids that cause cavities. The dentist examines your teeth and may take X-rays. If you have a cavity, your dentist will repair the tooth. Dentists also look to make sure that your teeth are growing correctly and that your gums are healthy. Your dentist or dental hygienist will also help you learn how to brush and floss so that you can take care of your teeth.

DISCUSS: Using a mouthguard: Use a mouthguard to protect your teeth when you are playing sports that may injure your mouth. When accidents happen, a tooth may be broken or chipped. You grow only one set of permanent teeth, so you need to take good care of them to keep them from damage.

Animal Teeth

Teeth: No Teeth T-Chart
Animal Diets Chart
Tooth Count Bar Graph

DISCUSS: Animal teeth are adapted for getting and chewing food. They can also be used for other purposes, such as protection or even building their homes!

Animals that eat meat are called carnivores. They have large canine teeth to hold and tear meat. Wolves, tigers, cats, and dogs are carnivores and have lots of sharp canine teeth. They need these strong, sharp teeth for catching and holding their prey. They bite their prey and tear the meat into pieces. They do not chew their food well, swallowing it whole or in large chunks. Some fish have teeth to help them catch their prey.

Animals that eat only plants are called herbivores. A herbivore’s long front incisors have sharp edges that are good for cutting grass and leaves. They have large molars at the back of their mouths for grinding and crushing the stems, leaves, fruits, seeds, and roots of plants. Their flat molars are used for grinding the plants. The long front incisors of beavers and squirrels can break into nuts and seeds. Squirrels crack nutshells with their teeth. (Don’t you try that!) Beavers, squirrels, and other rodents have teeth that keep growing all their lives. They sharpen their teeth by gnawing as they eat. Grazing animals such as horses, cows, and sheep need their large back molars for grinding up grass and grain.

Animals that eat both plants and animals are called omnivores. They have both canines and molars. Are you a carnivore, a herbivore, or an omnivore? Animals have a much simpler diet than people do.

Animals that don’t have teeth have to use other body parts to capture and eat their food. Lizards and frogs use their tongues to snap up food. Some birds use their beaks to tear food before they swallow it. Seed-eating birds use their beaks to crush the seeds. The blue whale and the anteater have no teeth.

How do animals clean their teeth? You use a toothbrush to clean your teeth, but animals clean their teeth by chewing and gnawing.

Some animals defend themselves or their babies with their teeth. Monkeys scare enemies by baring their teeth. Teeth can also be used as weapons against enemies.

Elephant tusks are long teeth outside an elephant’s mouth. They are used for protection from enemies or digging for water. Walruses use their tusks to dig up shellfish from the floor of the ocean.

A snake has two hollow teeth called fangs in its upper jaw. When a snake bites its prey, poison can squirt through small tips in the fangs.

Some animals use their teeth for building. A beaver’s incisors can cut through a tree trunk! The beaver uses the tree trunks for building a dam in the river. The beaver’s teeth wear down, but they keep on growing so they are always sharp. Some animals also use their teeth for digging or making tunnels.

Sharks have several rows of teeth. They grow out of the shark’s skin and are not anchored in the jaw. When a shark’s front teeth wear away or fall out, the teeth in the second row move forward. Sharks replace their teeth as long as they live. Other animals like dogs and cats have two sets of teeth, like people do.

ACTIVITY: (for lower primary) Teeth or no teeth? Use a T-chart to classify animals (Teeth: No Teeth T-Chart).

ACTIVITY: (for upper primary) The teeth of animals are adapted to eat plants, meat, or both plants and meat. Classify animals according to what they eat. Use the chart on Animal Diets Chart.

ACTIVITY: Research how birds manage to grind their food. Since birds do not have teeth to chew their food, how is their food digested? (Hint: What is a gizzard, and what role do stones play in the digestion?)

ACTIVITY: You have about 20 teeth. Your teacher and other adults have about 30 teeth. Compare that number with dogs, which have 40 teeth. Alligators have about 70 teeth. Some toothed whales have more than 200 teeth. Sharks have thousands of teeth in their lifetime. A tiger shark sheds more than 2,000 teeth every year! The giant anteater has no teeth. It crushes the ants it eats on rough lumps on the roof of its mouth. Birds, lizards, and frogs don’t have teeth. Birds use their beaks to tear or crack food before they swallow it. Using Tooth Count Bar Graph, create a bar graph showing the number of teeth of a bird, a primary student, an adult person, a dog, and an alligator.

ACTIVITY: Choose an animal that has teeth. Research to find out:

  • Where does your animal live? What is its habitat?
  • How many teeth does the animal have?
  • What does your animal eat? Is your animal a herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore?
  • How are your animals’ teeth adapted to getting and eating its food?

ACTIVITY: Create an animal! What is your animal’s name? Decide what your animal will look like, where it will live, and what it will eat. Think about the kind of teeth it will need to get and eat its food. Draw a picture of your animal in its habitat getting and eating food.

Do You Want To Become a Dentist?

Guide your students as they think about dentistry as a career.

DISCUSS: Dentists finish high school, and then they attend college for four years. After college, they go to dental school, learning about teeth and gums. Dentists must be able to read information from dentistry journals and from their patients’ charts and records. They use science and math as they mix materials and medicines to repair teeth. Dentists use their artistic ability as they sculpt fillings. They must have good communication skills to talk with their hygienists and explain procedures to their patients.

Some dentists do further study and have special jobs in their field. Dental specialties include these jobs:

      • endodontist: a dentist who treats infections deep within the tooth
      • forensic dentist: uses information from teeth and bones to help solve crimes
      • oral surgeon: a dentist who performs surgery on the mouth and jaw
      • orthodontist: a dentist who aligns and straightens teeth using corrective appliances such as braces
      • pediatric dentist: a children’s dentist
      • periodontist: a dentist who cares for gums

ACTIVITY: Interview your dentist by phone or in person. Ask about what he or she studied in school. How are reading, math, science, and art necessary in a career as a dentist?

ACTIVITY: Invite a dentist or dental hygienist to your classroom to speak about dental care.

Tooth Customs and Traditions Around the World

DISCUSS: In the United States, when a child loses a tooth, it is put under the child’s pillow. Then the Tooth Fairy takes the tooth and leaves money. In some countries, children put their teeth where the Tooth Mouse can find them. They hope their new teeth will be as strong and sharp as a mouse’s teeth!

Other cultures have different traditions. In Sweden, the tooth is put in a glass of water. In Greece, it is thrown on the roof for good luck. And in Mexico, the tooth is placed in a small box.

ACTIVITY: Research tooth traditions around the world or ask people from other cultures what their tooth traditions are.

ACTIVITY: Use creative thinking to brainstorm what the Tooth Fairy could do with all of those teeth that are collected. Write a story or make a picture about one way the Tooth Fairy might use the collected teeth.

ACTIVITY: Have you ever wondered what the Tooth Fairy looks like? Draw a picture or write a paragraph describing the Tooth Fairy.

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Student Handouts

The following handouts are print-ready PDF files. See the individual activity pages for instructions and related discussion topics.

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Lower Primary Prompt
Jeremy wants to keep his teeth healthy.

A. Draw three things Jeremy can do to keep his teeth healthy.
B. Label each picture.

Scoring Guide

4. Student draws three things a person can do to ensure dental health. They may include three of the following: brushing teeth, flossing teeth, eating nutritious foods, visiting the dentist for regular checkups, or using a mouthguard when necessary. Student correctly labels each item.
3. Student draws two things a person can do to ensure dental health and labels them correctly, or draws three things a person can do to ensure dental health and labels only two correctly.
2. Student draws only two things a person can do to ensure dental health and labels only one correctly.
1. Student draws one thing a person can do to ensure dental health.

Upper Primary Prompt
Jeremy wants to keep his teeth healthy.

A. List three things Jeremy can do to keep his teeth healthy.
B. Explain why each is important in tooth health.

Scoring Guide

4. Student lists three things a person can do to ensure dental health. They may include three of the following: brushing teeth, flossing teeth, eating nutritious foods, visiting the dentist for regular checkups, or using a mouthguard when necessary. Student explains fully the importance of each of the three items on his or her list: Brushing keeps teeth healthy by removing plaque. Germs on your teeth make acid and plaque. The acids can make holes (cavities) in the enamel of your teeth. Flossing removes food particles from between your teeth. Again, germs eat the food particles and make acid that can damage teeth. Eating nutritious foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and green vegetables gives your teeth calcium, a mineral that keeps teeth strong. Sugar causes germs in your mouth to multiply and make more acids, which damage teeth. During a visit to the dentist, your teeth will be cleaned (plaque removed) and any necessary repairs made to cavities. When playing sports that may injure your mouth, you should use a mouthguard to protect your teeth from breaking or chipping.
3. Student lists three things a person can do to ensure dental health and correctly explains only two.
2. Student lists and correctly explains only two things a person can do to ensure dental health.
1. Student lists two things a person can do to ensure dental health, with limited or no explanation of their importance to tooth health.

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Resources include the glossary, music, poems, and books.


(See printer-friendly version for Vocabulary Activity.)

bacteria – tiny germs. Those in your mouth can create acid which can cause tooth decay.

braces – wires which put pressure on teeth to move them into correct position

calcium – mineral which makes teeth and bones strong

canines (cuspids)- pointed teeth at the sides of your mouth that are used to tear food

cavity – a hole in a tooth caused by decay

crown – the part of the tooth that shows above the gum

dental hygienist – a person who cleans teeth, takes dental X-rays, and helps patients learn how to care for their teeth

dentin -the layer of a tooth below the enamel

dentist – a doctor who takes care of teeth

digestion – breaking down food so that it can be used by the body

enamel – the hard white outside layer of a tooth

filling or amalgam – material the dentist puts into a cavity to stop tooth decay

floss – special thread used to clean food and plaque from between teeth

fluoride – a mineral which may be added to water or toothpaste to make enamel stronger

gum – soft pink skin that covers the jawbone and surrounds the necks of teeth

incisors – flat front teeth used for cutting

molars – wide grinding teeth at the back of the mouth

permanent teeth – teeth that replace the primary teeth

plaque – a sticky film with germs that forms on your teeth and can cause cavities

primary teeth – a person’s first set of teeth, often called baby teeth

pulp – blood vessels and nerves at the center of the tooth

root – the base of the tooth. The root holds the tooth in the jawbone.

saliva – the watery liquid in the mouth that mixes with food and helps digestion

toothbrush – a small brush for cleaning teeth

X-ray – a special photograph showing the bone structure inside the body. Dentists use X-rays to see between and inside teeth.

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Books and More for Teachers

Some resources related to teeth, dental care, and dentistry for primary students:


  • “Brush Your Teeth,” from Raffi’s Singable Songs for the Very Young


  • “Crocodile’s Toothache” by Shel Silverstein, in Where the Sidewalk Ends


  • Beeler, Selby. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World
  • Chandra, Deborah and Madeleine Comora. George Washington’s Teeth
  • Cousins, Lucy. Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth
  • Ehrlich, Fred. Does a Lion Brush?
  • Fowler, Allan. Look at Teeth
  • Freedman, Russell. Tooth and Claw: A Look at Animal Weapons
  • Greene, Carol. At the Dentist
  • Greenway, Theresa. Teeth and Tusks
  • Klein, Adria. Max Goes to the Dentist
  • Lane, Jeanette. The Magic School Bus and the Missing Tooth
  • Llewellyn, Claire. I Didn’t Know That Sharks Keep Losing Their Teeth
  • Maccarone, Jane. My Tooth Is About To Fall Out
  • Moss, Miriam. Wibble Wobble
  • Park, Barbara. Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder
  • Pluckrose, Henry. Look at Teeth
  • Rosenberry, Vera. Vera Goes to the Dentist
  • Watson, Jane W. My Friend the Dentist

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