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January 25, 2016

Celebrating Dental Health Through Play!

February is dental health month—and the perfect opportunity fDental health posteror little ones to learn all about how to keep their pearly whites healthy and strong! Children can explore how to promote good health and what happens to teeth when they aren’t taken care of through engaging play experiences.

 

Practice Brushing and Flossing

  • Brushing Animal TeethUnit 4 curriculum focuses on “Amazing Animals”. Provide students with a toy animal and a tooth brush. Encourage them to “brush the animals’ teeth”!
  • Egg Carton Tooth BrushingCut an egg carton into rows.  Flip the rows over onto a table so that the bottom is facing up. Provide toothbrushes and a mixture of white paint and baking soda (to replicate toothpaste). Invite children to practice brushing teeth! You can also add dental floss or yarn to this center and invite children to practice flossing.
  • Toothbrush PaintingThis activity is common in curriculum and all of our classrooms! During the month of February, focus on the brush strokes that children are making with the toothbrush. Show children how to brush in a circular motion and up and down—just like when we brush our teeth!
  • Lego Flossing Gather large legos or duplo blocks. Place a little bit of playdough between each “tooth.” Invite children to use floss to remove the playdough.

Songs and Stories

  • Healthy Tooth SongFor this activity you will need felt pieces to represent: a tooth, tooth brush, toothpaste, glass of milk, and dental floss.

Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

I’m a happy tooth, you see,

Always taking care of me.

I am brushed every day.

Keeping clean as I play.

Eating healthy, yes I do.

Flossing daily helps me, too!

Place each piece on the flannel board as you sing the song.

 

  • Whose smile? Class Photo BookTake a photo of each child smiling. Cut out the photo so that it only shows each students’ nose to their chin. Arrange the photos in a book to share with the class! Students will have fun guessing who each of the smiles belong to. 

 

  • Story time is an engaging tool that can help children learn how to take care of their teeth . We recommend:

Curious George Visits the Densit by H.A. Rey

Does a Tiger Go to the Dentist? By Jarrier Ziefert

Little Rabbits Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate

My Dentist by Harlow Rockwell

 Arthur’s Tooth by Marc Brown

 

Healthy Eating

  • Dental Health CollageYou will need a tooth cutout and magazines. Invite little ones to look through a magazine and determine which foods are healthy and safe for our teeth! Pre-cut food pictures for toddlers; ages 3+ can cut the photos out of the magazines themselves. Invite students to glue the healthy choices to the tooth cutout.

 

Tooth Experiments

  • CavitiesLook at an apple with no holes in it and ask little ones to describe how it looks. Then, poke a hole in an apple and let it sit throughout the day. In the afternoon bring back the apple and ask children to describe how the hole looks. This demonstrates what happens to our teeth when they have a cavity! Discuss ways to keep our teeth healthy and strong—eating healthy, brushing, etc.
  • (Ages 3+) Egg Stain ExperimentPlace a hard-boiled egg in a cup of dark soda overnight. In the morning, show students the egg and ask them to describe what they see. Invite little ones to brush the stain off of the egg using toothpaste and a toothbrush.

 

When I Lose My Teeth (Ages 3+)

Race to Loose a Tooth- Click here to learn how to play! Eventually, little ones are going to begin to loose their teeth! Get them ready for the event with this  fun game. Explain that once their baby teeth fall out, their grown up teeth will come in big and strong!