Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease worldwide, according to the FDI World Dental Federation, with 486 million children suffering from tooth decay in their primary teeth. Poor oral health also can affect school performance, FDI said, as children with poor oral health are 12 times more likely to struggle in school due to associated illness. Also, poor oral health leads to more than 50 million school hours lost each year.
To help combat these issues, FDI has produced Mouth Heroes for Schools, a teaching resource for children between the ages of 5 and 9. It gives teachers everything they need to deliver engaging lessons to make sure children take good care of their teeth and mouth, FDI said.
Toothie, FDI’s child-friendly mascot, takes children on a journey to develop health-related life skills, the organization said. By the end of their Mouth Heroes lessons, children will know how to take care of their mouth, avoid foods that can harm their teeth and body, take more responsibility for their own oral health, and feel empowered to practice healthy behaviors now and in the future, FDI said.
The program’s Teacher Guide is designed to help educators navigate the resources included in Mouth Heroes for Schools. It includes lesson plans and suggests ways to include the other resources such as videos, presentations, worksheets, and checklists as part of a complete lesson on good oral health.
Short, cartoon-style videos follow Toothie on an adventure to promote good oral health. PowerPoint presentations are packed with content, including imagery, quizzes, and digital activities. Presentations can be printed out or displayed on a screen.
Worksheets have been designed to complement lesson activities, and the “Good Work!” certificate can be handed out at the end of the lesson to reward students for their efforts. Also, ideas included in the Teacher Guide explore how schools can involve parents and caregivers, and teachers can send a checklist home with students.
Plus, FDI provides a ready-made assembly that schools can hold anytime on or around March 20 to celebrate World Oral Health Day, which promotes good oral health for everyone. The assembly includes a script and a quiz, both included in the Teacher Guide.
Last year, FDI conducted a survey that revealed a startling lack of oral health education in schools, the organization said. Mouth Heroes aims to fill that gap and encourage more health-related curriculum in schools around the world.
Together, parents and teachers play a key role in helping teach children about the importance of good oral health, FDI said, which will help secure the general health and well-being of future generations. By helping teachers integrate oral health into a complete educational program, FDI continued, Mouth Heroes can help drive positive change.