50 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
How Do Germs Make Holes in the Teeth?
Acid makes holes in the teeth. The acid is made when sweet foods mix with
germs in your mouth.
It is not possible to prevent cavities or gum problems by trying to kill all of
the germs in your mouth. There are too many—and some germs are good
for you. The important thing is to keep the germs from getting together
and making a film or coating on your teeth.
This film on the teeth is called plaque, but you do not need to use this word.
Every morning we can all feel a ‘furry film’ on our teeth. This film must not
be allowed to stay on the teeth! It will mix with sugar and make acid. Worse,
if it stays in a group (or ‘colony’) for more than 24 hours, it will mix with
saliva, harden, and make tartar (see page 52).
The main reason for cleaning teeth is to break up these colonies so they
cannot make acid. Also, if you forget to clean your teeth, tartar will form,
and you will need a dental worker to scrape it off. This is why it is important
to clean your teeth at least every 24 hours, so the tartar can never form on
Here is a game called “Scatter!” that students can play outside. You need:
• Five ‘bases’ (a tree, rock, or
the corner of a house can
be a base) in a half circle,
12 meters apart. Each base
must have a ‘monitor’ who
stays at the base.
Note: children who cannot
run can be good monitors.
• One person with a
broom. This person is the
Children in Jocuixtita, Mexico, beginning a
game of “Scatter!” The ‘decolonizer’ is the
girl in the center with the broom.
20 students called ‘colonizers’ stand facing the decolonizer. When the
decolonizer says “go!” they try to ‘form colonies’ around the bases
before the decolonizer can touch them with the broom.