SugarByHalf - Sugar And Your Mouth

SugarByHalf - Sugar And Your Mouth

Lesson 2 of 4 in this unit

  • Primary
  • Year 3 - 4
  • Science
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Health
  • Social
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • ...

Lesson summary

Run your tongue along with your teeth. Does it feel furry? Or is it squeaky clean? Does this change over the day? What is happening inside my mouth to create this furry feeling? This lesson takes a close look at the effects of sugar on the mouth. The students discover the super brushers and reluctant flossers, as they take a closer look at dental hygiene. Students undertake a mini-experiment looking at how calcium reacts when surrounded by acids. They explore the long-term effects of sugar, and whether there is a connection with teeth, the health of our organs, and the foods we consume.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand how sugar affects our bodies
  • discover that poor food choices can damage our teeth
  • understand that the choices and decisions we make can have positive impacts on future health.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • describe how toothbrushing is a part of dental hygiene
  • make suggestions about the various ways to improve dental hygiene
  • describe the effect of sugar on the calcium in our teeth
  • discuss the effects of sugar on health.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum Mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Years 3 & 4 Health and Physical Education:

  • Identify and practice strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS036)
  • Discuss and interpret health information and messages in the media and internet (ACPPS039)

Syllabus outcomes: PHS2.12, SLS2.13

General capabilities: Critical and Creative ThinkingNumeracy 

Relevant parts of Year 3 & 4 HPE achievement standards: 
 Students interpret health messages and discuss the influences on healthy and safe choices. They understand the benefits of being healthy and physically active. They describe the connections they have to their community and identify local resources to support their health, wellbeing, safety, and physical activity. Students apply strategies for working cooperatively and apply rules fairly. They use decision-making and problem-solving skills to select and demonstrate strategies that help them stay safe, healthy, and active. 

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Sugar By Half

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High level – student direction, overseeing of food handling and support during the game show

Resources required

  • A device capable of creating audiovisual recordings, such as an iPad, computer, or camera
  • Food items: fresh eggs (2 dozen), 4L of vinegar, or a large bottle of cola (quantity will depend on whether you decide to conduct this as an individual or group activity) 
  • Pencils, markers, A3 poster paper 
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.
  • Teeth Brushing Line slips – printed


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Problem solving
  • Social skills

Additional info

These lessons were developed in partnership with SugarByHalf and Filter Your Future. Filter Your Future guides children towards positive lifestyle choices to reduce the impact of preventable chronic diseases in future generations. Not many people know that type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure account for half the chronic kidney disease cases in Australia. When children learn about the function of the kidneys to clean the blood, how it balances water and salts, and remove waste from the body, they develop an understanding which motivates them to follow a healthier lifestyle.

Filter Your Future's vision is that young students are provided with evidence about the global health epidemic of weight-related chronic diseases and are empowered to make better lifestyle choices for a healthier future.

People who carry the burden of chronic disease all share the same vision for the future. They want their children and grandchildren to have a healthier future than themselves. By providing children with early awareness, prevention and health promotion, we provide pivotal education about wise choices to prevent chronic disease before poor lifestyle choices become unhealthy habits. Members of the Dialysis and Transplant Association of Victoria, Inc. (D.A.T.A.) and FILTER YOUR FUTURE® believe that this project will benefit our future generations and our nation.

Guardians of the Gums was written by Bee Healthy Stories; if you would like to see more of their stories, head to Bee Healthy Stories.

SugarByHalf promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that we can live better, stronger and healthier lives.

Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half. Eating too much added sugar is a key driver of serious health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, dementia and mental health conditions. A poor diet also puts children behind their peers, affecting brain development, sleep and ability to learn. Poor diet choices ultimately mean that this generation of children could be the first in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents.

Much of the added sugar in our diet comes from the processed foods and drinks we consume. On average, we consume 14-16 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teenagers consume more than 20 teaspoons per day. The World Health Organisation says we should limit our daily added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons for good health. To put that in perspective, there are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. If something has 20 grams of sugar, that's 5 teaspoons of sugar. 

This English lesson focuses on developing the skills and knowledge students need to critically consider messages about food and drink they are exposed to, thereby equipping them to be able to make healthy choices.

Talking about Health:

  • Be mindful of students who may experience weight stigma. Some students may be sensitive to conversations around weight, body size or shape. Terms including obesity, weight issues, weight-problem and fat can be stigmatising for some people because they assign blame. It is important to note individual preferences around language vary. Research has shown using the terms ‘weight’, ‘weight gain’, ‘healthy weight’, ‘unhealthy weight’, and ‘high BMI’ are preferred as better alternatives.
  • Be mindful about how you use the word ‘diet’. We recommend focussing students on the positive impacts of healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles which help us to have stronger bodies and minds, feel good and sleep well.
  • Steer students away from any focus on appearances by communicating that appearance does not determine your worth. We recommend the fact sheets from the Butterfly Foundation on body image tips.
  • Avoid using labels such as obese or diabetic. Refer to people living with diabetes, people living with cancer, people with high BMI etc.
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