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Sugar, Acids, and Tooth Decay

This unit explores the way in which sugar increases your risk of tooth decay. It explores the familiar topic of acids and bases with a social action twist, using the lens of oral health to reinvigorate the teaching. 

The World Health Organisation says that for good health, we should limit our daily added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day. On average, Australians consume 14-16 teaspoons per day. Teenagers consume more than 20. 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.

This Science unit covers all the basic components of an acids and bases unit, such as the pH scale and universal indicators. It also explores how high sugar consumption can damage your teeth over time, digging in to the actual chemical reactions and the relation of acids and bases. It concludes with an opportunity for students to practise their science communication and explain some principles of oral health to other students. 


These lessons were developed in partnership with SugarByHalf and the Australian Dental Association.