Lesson 6.3: Science Connection

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Every time you smile for a picture, people can see your teeth. Sometimes they can also see your gums. People need to care for their teeth and gums. If these are not kept clean, plaque can form on them. Plaque is what leads to tooth decay. It can also cause gum disease.

parts of a molar

Here are some ways to take care of your teeth and gums.

  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Brush them again before you go to bed. Use a soft toothbrush and a bit of toothpaste. Make sure to brush all your teeth and your gums. Brush your tongue too!
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day. Have a grown-up help you do this. Dental floss is thin thread that helps clean in between your teeth. Use it to get rid of food that your toothbrush can't reach.
  • Visit a dentist once or twice a year. You need to have your teeth cleaned and X-rays taken. You may have fluoride put on your teeth. Fluoride helps keep your teeth strong. The dentist will also take care of any cavities that you may have.

Word Wise

Flesh that surrounds the teeth and jaw: Jana uses a special rinse to keep her gums healthy.

Coating that forms on the surface of teeth and gums: Brushing and flossing removes plaque from teeth.

A compound that helps prevent tooth decay: Some kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride.

A hole in a tooth caused by bacteria: Dentists say that brushing at least twice a day prevents cavities.

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You have met a molar! Molars are teeth with flat surfaces. You have molars on both sides of your mouth — on the top and on the bottom — and all the way in the back.

A molar is just one kind of tooth. You have four kinds of teeth in your mouth. They cut, crush, tear, and grind food. Use your dictionary. On a sheet of paper, write the names of each kind of tooth. Find out what job each of them does in your mouth.

  • molar
  • incisor
  • canine
  • premolar

Data Hunt

How well do your classmates take care of their teeth? Do they brush once a day, or twice a day? Do they floss? Copy the tally chart below onto a piece of paper.

Ask your classmates about their tooth habits. Use your tally chart to record your results.

Tooth Habits
Habit Tally Number
Brush teeth once a day    
Brush teeth at least twice a day    
Floss every day    
Use fluoride rinse every day    

Count the tally marks for each question. Write the totals in the Number Column. Look at your results. Do your classmates have good tooth habits? What could they do to have healthier teeth?