LESSONTHE IMPORTANCE OF FLUORIDE AND SEALANTS

Purpose:
The purpose of this lesson is to create an awareness among teachers, students, and parents of the importance of fluoride and sealants and the various ways of obtaining these two protective agents.
 

Materials Needed:
Crayons
Two sheets of construction paper for each student
Activity Pages, "Ways to Get Fluoride" (one set for each student)
One tube of toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance on it(optional)
Parent Letter, "The Importance of Fluoride and Sealants"
Attachment to Parent Letter, "Ways to Get Fluoride"
 

Background Information for the Teacher:
Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth become stronger and more resistant to decay. It can benefit both children and adults.

There are many ways Head start children can get fluoride they need for good dental health. These include:
.. drinking water that contains enough fluoride at home or at school;

.. taking chewable fluoride tablets prescribed by a dentist or physician if fluoride is not available in the drinking water;

.. using fluoride tooth pastes at home;

.. Having fluoride solutions or gels applied to the teeth by a dentist.


 

When choosing a fluoride toothpaste, choose a product that has the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance on the carton or tube. These products have been proved effective in reducing the incidence of decay.

It is important for you to work closely with the Head Start Dental Health Consultant and Health Coordinator to be sure the children in your classroom are provided a fluoride program that best meets their needs. This will depend on the level of fluoride available in your school and community water supply.

Sealants are clear or shaded plastic materials that are applied by a dentist to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These areas have deep grooves that helps prevent decay from occurring. Dental sealants have proved most effective in preventing decay in children's teeth.

Each tooth takes only a few minutes to seal. First, the teeth that will be sealed are cleaned. A special material is then put on the chewing surface to help the sealant become attached to the tooth. Finally, the sealant is allowed to harden. Some sealants need a special light to help them harden; others do not. Sealants are recommended for all children, even those who receive fluoride treatments or who live in communities with fluoridated water.
 

Starting the Lesson:
To begin this lesson, it is necessary to have a discussion on ways we make our bodies healthy and strong. Ask the following discussion questions:

-Can you name some things you eat that make you stronger? (Encourage answers such as fruit, vegetables, meat, bread.)

-Can you name some things you drink that make you stronger? (Encourage answers such as milk, water, juice.)

-Can you name some things you do that make your muscles stronger? (Encourage answers such as running, climbing, playing.)

Now explain to the children that there is something that we can use to make our teeth very strong. This is called fluoride (Flor' id). You cannot see fluoride, but it is in some water, toothpaste, and tablets. Have the children practice saying "fluoride."

Use the copy below with the pictures on Activity Pages, "Ways to Get Fluoride." Make copies of the Activity Pages so that each student has his or her own set of pictures.

Have the children look at the appropriate page as you read the copy for each page. If you are unable to make a copy of the pictures for each student, you may instead color one set and display them when you read aloud the copy for each page.

Page 1 - "Sometimes the dentist or hygienist will put something special on your teeth. It looks like Jell-O, comes in many flavors, and contains fluoride.

Fluoride will help make your teeth strong. What else do you see in the picture?"

Page 2 - "Some tubes of toothpaste have a special picture on them. If you see this picture on your toothpaste tube, you will know your toothpaste has fluoride in it. Can you find the special picture on any of the toothpaste tubes on the page? How many toothpaste tubes have the special picture? Can you point to the toothpaste tube that does not have the special picture on it? Be sure to use toothpaste that has the special picture on it."

Page 3 - "Brushing with fluoride toothpaste every day will make your teeth stronger. Where do you see the special picture on this page?"

Page 4 - "Fluoride also comes in special tablets that we may get at home or school. These tablets can also make our teeth stronger. You should take a tablet only if it is given to you by your teacher, your parent, or your dentist."

(Optional: Use this last picture only if your class participates in a fluoride tablet program.)
 

Classroom Activities
1. Coloring - Allow children to color Activity Pages, "Ways to Get Fluoride." Staple the pages together to form a booklet for each child. You may want to give each child construction paper so that he or she can make a cover for the booklet.

2. Recognition - Hold up a tooth paste tube and carton (if available) that have the ADA Seal on them. Point to the Seal on each item, and tell children that this is the special picture that tells us fluoride is in this toothpaste. Allow each child to point to the Seal of Acceptance while you hold the tube and/or carton. You may want to allow the children to pass around the tube so that each has a chance to look at it closely.

3. Field Trip - As part of a unit on community helpers, take the children to the local pharmacy or drug store. Introduce children to the pharmacist. Explain that the pharmacist can help us find dental products that contain fluoride as well as other items that are good for our teeth. Allow children to look for toothpaste cartons that have the fluoride seal.

Lesson Review,
Puppet Story:
 

Hi, boys and girls! I know you've been learning about something that makes your teeth strong. It's called fluoride. Can you say "fluoride?" Very good! We need to keep our teeth strong just like we need to keep the rest of our bodies strong? (Meat, vegetables, fruits, breads, etc.) Excellent! Now, boys and girls, do you remember where we can get fluoride to make our teeth strong? (The dentist's office, toothpaste, tablets)

That's right! You can have fluoride put on your teeth when you visit the dental office. And you can get some fluoride when you brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Do you know where you get fluoride toothpaste? Why is there a special picture on some toothpaste tubes? Very good! The picture lets us know there is fluoride in the toothpaste. I'm glad that you know so much about fluoride. Next time we meet we'll talk some more about how we can keep ourselves strong and healthy. See you again soon!
 

  Parent Letter:  "The Importance of Fluoride and Sealants"
 

Dear Head Start Parent:
 

The entire body needs vitamins and minerals for good health. The teeth and bones also need a special mineral called fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. It is also of special benefit to children, because their teeth are still forming in their mouth.

The best way of getting fluoride is by drinking fluoridated water. If the water in your area does not contain enough fluoride, chewable fluoride tablets may be prescribed for your child by the dentist or physician. These tablets should be taken daily until the child is thirteen. Ask your child's physician or dentist if your community's water supply is fluoridated and how your child can get the fluoride needed for good dental health. Attached is an information sheet about fluoride and ways to get fluoride.


You can help your family get fluoride by choosing--and using-- home dental care products that contain fluoride. Fluoride toothpastes are available in the dental products section of most; stores. Be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when selecting these items. This Seal tells you that these products have been proved effective by the American Dental Association.

Another way to prevent decay is to have a dentist apply a sealant on your child's back teeth. A sealant is a plastic material that your dentist brushes on the chewing surfaces to prevent germs from getting in the deep grooves of the back teeth.

Fluoride and sealants, along with brushing, flossing, good nutrition and regular dental visits, will help keep your child's teeth healthy.

Sincerely,
 
 

WAYS OF GETTING FLUORIDE
 

FLUORIDE IN THE DRINKING WATER

Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth become stronger and helps prevent decay. One excellent way to get fluoride is to drink water that contains the right amount of fluoride. If you are not sure whether your drinking water contains the right amount of fluoride for good dental health, ask your dentist or hygienist. Children who drink water with the right amount of fluoride have fewer cavities.

Using fluoride is one of the safest, most effective, and least expensive ways to prevent tooth decay. Its use is supported by the American Dental Association, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and many other major health organizations.

OTHER WAYS OF GETTING FLUORIDE

In addition to getting fluoride through your drinking water, there are other ways you and your family can get protection from fluoride. Your dentist or hygienist can tell you what is best for you and your family.

At the Dental Office

If you drink water that does not contain the right amount of fluoride, your dentist or physician may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops for your children to take every day. For maximum protection, fluoride tablets or drops should be take from birth until the child is thirteen years old. In addition, your dentist may put a fluoride gel on your child's teeth. This helps protect the surface of the tooth from decay.

At Head Start

Some schools and Head Start centers give children fluoride tablets. Fluoride tablets are another way of protecting teeth. These tablets are chewed and dissolved in the mouth. The liquid is then swished around the teeth and swallowed.

At Home

There are also some fluoride products that can be used at home. Even if the water in your area is fluoridated, dental care products containing fluoride should be used at home. You and your family should use a fluoride tooth-paste when you brush your teeth. Those fluoride tooth pastes that have the Seal of Acceptance of the American Dental Association have been proved effective and safe for daily use.
 

Link to pertinent resource materials



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