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Watch Your Mouth!
Lesson Plan: Grades 7 and 8 (Ages 12–14)

© 2005 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Educators and dental professionals are permitted to reproduce and use this activity sheet solely in printed form. Any other use, duplication or distribution of this activity sheet by any other party requires the prior written approval of the American Dental Association.

Message to the Teacher or Classroom Presenter

Watch Your Mouth! is a flexible oral health education program which can be used as a stand-alone lesson or to supplement your existing health curriculum. It is a valuable teaching tool for teachers, dentists, hygienists, school nurses, physicians and other health care professionals.

Watch Your Mouth! is divided into two modules:

The lesson objectives, key messages, and discussion topics can be presented in as little as half an hour, or can be supplemented with extra activities and discussions to serve as a full unit on dental care. This allows you to choose the method that will work best with the students. The lesson plan is loosely scripted with discussion questions, explanations and activities that you can easily adapt to your own unique style of teaching.

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How Teeth to Treasure! Will Help Your Students

This program, developed by the American Dental Association (ADA), will:

  • Help instill in students a sense of competence and responsibility for caring for their teeth.
  • Provide accurate and timely information on behaviors that can cause dental health problems, such as mouth piercing and tobacco use.
  • Reinforce their dentists’ instructions on properly caring for their teeth.

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Watch Your Mouth! Lesson Objectives

The three lesson objectives are targeted to the concerns and interests of the young teen. Students will learn that:

  1. Taking good care of our teeth enhances our health and appearance.
  2. Special activities and conditions require extra "tooth attention."
  3. Avoiding certain activities can protect dental and total health.

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Before You Start

  • Read over the lesson plan and choose any of the supplemental activities you wish to incorporate.
  • Photocopy the activity sheet Watch Your Mouth! Crossword Puzzle for the students.
  • Collect the following materials: new toothbrush, toothpaste; poster board and markers.
  • Have the support materials for this unit handy: How to Brush; How to Floss; Permanent Tooth Development; Tooth Anatomy; Old and New Toothbrushes; Mouthguard.

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Supplemental Activities

  • Pass out copies of ADA brochure "Think Before You Chew." Discuss "Sean's Story" and real life experiences with tobacco use and consequences. Copies of this brochure are available for purchase from the ADA by calling 1-800-947-4746.
  • Bring a store-bought mouthguard to class and talk about how it helps protect teeth. (You may be able to get one from your school's physical education department.) Also, remind students that their dentist can make a mouthguard custom-fitted to their mouth.
  • Have students make a bulletin board display of fads or popular behaviors which occurred in the 50s, 60s 70s, 80s, 90s and today. Discuss any that had long-term health or appearance consequences.
  • Have a poster contest: "Smart Kids Don't Smoke (or Chew Tobacco)!"
  • Have students develop a "Dental Health Quiz" which awards points for good oral health habits.
  • Invite a dentist to your class. (Dental Organizations often provide a list of speakers. Visit the Dental Organizations section of, to search for a State or Local Dental Organization nearest you.)
  • For more online classroom resources, visit the ADA for Educators section of

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Support Materials: Charts and Diagrams

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Student Activity Sheets

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Purchase Additional Educational Materials

Additional educational materials are available for purchase by calling 800-947-4746 or by visiting the ADA Catalog.

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