Cavities and Candy

Ishmael doesn’t want cavities


Ja’Kyra:  When Ms. Coburn was little, she ate so much candy all her teeth fell out, and she had to buy some teeth . . .

Ismael:  It’s hard because I don’t want to leave candy!

Listen (4 minutes)



Nearly half of all the children in the United States have cavities in their permanent teeth, and that number will rise to 90% by the time they re adults. KGNU is exploring health issues such as these with the help of grade school radio reporters in a project we call Eat Your Radio. Today, we’ll be at Ashley Elementary School, where 5th Grade teachers Robby Herd and Holli Coburn are presenting a lesson in dental hygiene. 5thgraders Ja Kyra and Ja Leah start the story.

Ja’Leah and Ja’Kyra

JA’ LEAH AND JA’ KYRA My name is JaKyra My name’s JaLeah We are all from Ashley Elementary in the radio group. We are in 5thGrade

JA’ LEAH AND JA’ KYRA SONG Sugar is bad for you. Don t even try it. They give you lots of ca-vi-ties JA LEAH

JA’ LEAH AND JA’ KYRA  Me and JaKyra, we started to make a song about cavities, and they re bad for you.

SONG FADE UP Don t even try it. They give you lots of ca-vi-ties

5th GRADE TEACHER MR. HERD Has anyone ever had a toothache?


JA LEAH  In fifth grade there s a lot happening. On nutrition, we teachers are asking some 5th grade students about cavities and how you would get cavities.


JA’ LEAH AND JA’ KYRA  JaKyra was trying to show how she was chewing. Everybody was having so much fun in the room, talking with their friends and inventing some of the foods. Until Ms. Coburn started to tell a story. Ms Coburn, when she was younger.  Our age. Yeah, like 10 and 11, she ate candy every day, and she started to get a lot of cavities and her teeth feel out. And then, she had to buy some teeth.

FIFTH GRADE TEACHER MS COBURN When I was your age, I was eating all kinds of bad things, like candy. I ate five dollars of candy a week for like fifteen years. And I have a ten thousand dollar mouth. That tooth s fake. That tooth s fake. That tooth s fake. And that tooth s fake. Because I did not listen to my parents or teachers and I did what I want to do, it cost me ten thousand dollars. If I had ten thousand dollars I could buy a home. I could buy a car. I could go to a dealership and buy a car and take it off the lot. My foolish decisions really affected me. So now I have to use a sonic care toothbrush where I brush the four quadrants of my mouth. I have to do that every day for the rest of my life or I m going to lose all my teeth and have fake teeth. Or I m going to lose all my teeth and have fake teeth. And do you think my husband wants a pretty wife with fake teeth at thirty something years old?


Because of candy, Ms. Coburn says she has a $10,000 mouth

MS COBURN No, so I have to take care. But, I learned the hard way. Take my advice. Don t learn the hard way. But I still have a pretty smile.

ROCK Yeah, you do

MR HERD Yes, And when you re brushing, what do you get rid of?

SONG Sugar is bad for you. Don t even try it. They give you lots of ca-vi-ties

 ISMAEL My name is Ismael and I m a fifth grader at Ashley. That story was a very good impression because I ate a lot of candy. I used to. And I miss candy

JASMINE Well, when Ihmael comes to school he eats it, every day.

ISMAEL I didn t bring any candy to school.

JASMINE I do not think he s being honest.

ISMAEL I haven t brang candy to school except for a nutrition bar that has like Little M & Ms. In it. Really tiny, tiny, tiny ones. It was like a healthy one.

JASMINE At snacktime, he does bring candy.

JA-KYRA Like Reeses, Skittles.

JASMINE Hersheys. Takis.

ISMAEL It s hard because I don t want to leave candy.

SONG Don t even try it . . .

JA LEAH Part of me does want some and the part of me does not. This much of my body wants some, and the rest doesn t. I m like, never mind. I want that candy. Never mind! And I can t make up my mind.

SONG Sugar is bad for you, don t even try it. They give you lots of cavities.

Thanks to Ja Leah, Ja Kyra, Jasmine, Rock, Ishmal, Alejandro and the rest of the Ashley Elementary reporting team, and to Shelley Schlender for producing this story.