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A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles!
Lesson Plan: Grades 2 and 3 (Ages 7–9)

Message to the Teacher or Classroom Presenter

A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles! is a flexible oral health education program that can be used as a stand-alone lesson or to supplement your existing health curriculum. It is a valuable teaching tool for dentists, hygienists, school nurses, physicians and other health care professionals.

A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles! is divided into three 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 A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles! Will Help Your Students

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

  • Encourage students to think about, and discuss, the importance of their teeth.
  • Provide students with information on good oral health appropriate to their age and experience.
  • Reinforce their dentists' instructions on properly caring for their teeth.

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A Lifetime of Healthy Smiles! Lesson Objectives

There are three objectives for this program that can be easily reinforced throughout the school year. Students will learn that:

  1. Teeth are important.
  2. Healthy teeth are part of a healthy body.
  3. Taking good care of our teeth is something that each of us can do.

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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 A-MAZE-ing Message and Something's Missing activity sheets for the students.
  • Collect the following materials for demonstrations and examples: 1 paper towel; black crayon or permanent marker; black water-based marker; a sponge; a small container of water; several new toothbrushes in adult and child sizes; dental floss; yarn.
  • Have the support materials for this unit handy: How to Brush; How to Floss; Primary Tooth Development; Permanent Tooth Development; Old and New Toothbrushes; Adult and Child-size Toothbrushes; Oral Care Calendar.

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Supplemental Activities

  • Ask the children to sing, or say a tongue-twister, without using their teeth. (For example: She sells seashells by the seashore, or There are thirty-three thousand things to thoughtfully think through.)
  • Ask for stories about what it is like to be missing a front top tooth.
  • Have several children act out a visit to the dentist as a lead-in to a discussion.
  • 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
  • Distribute Oral Care Calendar to students. Create an incentive program for students who bring in completed calendars.

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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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