Super busy high school kids might be tempted to neglect their smiles now more than ever. Use the following activities to remind them of the importance of proper dental care and nutrition for overall good health.
In groups, have students develop a weekly menu, including snacks, based on the five food groups. Take a field trip to the grocery story and have each group “shop” for the items on their list. Have them chart the prices and which items contain sugar. You may also wish to have them observe and compare the different dental care products available in the store.
Have students design the most effective toothbrush style they can imagine and state the reasons for this design selection.
Have students do a visual experiment demonstrating the chemical interaction of plaque and sugar (penny in a bottle of carbonated cola drink, egg in vinegar, etc.).
Students can compare the expense of treatment of dental disease versus the cost of preventive measures (cost of routine exams versus fillings, replacement of missing teeth and treatment of periodontal disease) based on actual family dental expenses.
Ask the class to collect advertisements about a variety of toothpastes and evaluate the validity of their claims.
Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco
Have students write research papers describing the effects that smoking and smokeless tobacco have on the body. Ask students to research the amount of money spent on smoking and smokeless tobacco each year (including the amount spent on advertising and law suits). Using materials gathered, students can develop a display and place it in an area where many students will see it. Survey the class to determine how many students currently are smoking or chewing tobacco. Ask students to list reasons why and how they began their habit. Ask them if they ever believe they will quit and encourage them to take the necessary steps to give up the habit.
Ask students to research new technology in dentistry. Explain what the item is, how it works, how it has benefited the patient and dentist, and how much it costs.
Dentistry as a Career
Invite a dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistant and/or laboratory technician to the class to discuss education, training and professional responsibilities. Encourage students to ask questions.