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Volume 4, Issue 2
January 25, 2006


Dental Health Month

WELCOME! to Education World's Early Childhood Newsletter. Every other week, I'll share some ideas on a familiar teaching theme. Hopefully you will find a new activity idea or two -- or a new twist on one of your old favorites! Since I know you are very busy, I'll be short and sweet -- like most of activities I suggest.

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February is National Children's Dental Health Month! Before you "take a bite" out of the activities we've suggested, try this little finger play with children to kick off your Dental Health unit.

Brush them 'til they're clean and bright. (Show brushing movements)
Brush to keep them shiny white. (Show big smile)

Brush them in the morning's light (Show stretching and yawn)
Brush at bedtime--when it's night. (Put head to side on folded hands)

When it's time to check them out
You won' have to fuss or pout. (Shake heads side to side)

"Dr. Brush-em" will smile and say,
"You're teeth look great, Hip, Hip Hooray!" (All stand and raise arms on Hip, Hip Hooray!)

Susan LaBella
Editor, Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Prepare a set of food cards by pasting pictures of foods and drinks on 3x5 cards. Some pictures should represent foods that are good for teeth and others should represent foods that are not good for teeth. On the back of each card draw a happy tooth face for healthful foods and a sad tooth face for foods that are not good for teeth. Invite children to sort the cards by placing good tooth foods into one side of a pocket folder (marked with a happy tooth face) and foods that are not good for teeth into the other folder pocket (marked with a sad tooth face). When children have completed the activity, they can turn each card over to check their decisions.

At circle time, invite children to say what color their toothbrushes are. Keep a running list of their responses. Then on an easel pad show a simple bar graph to represent the various colors and the number of students that have each color. Help students understand the graph and ask simple questions such as: Which color do most children have? Fewest children? And so on...

--Provide large posterboard tooth cutouts for the easel. Invite children to use a toothbrush dipped in white paint to paint the tooth.
--Give each child a plastic egg carton. Have children turn the egg carton upside down so the bumps are teeth. Give each child a toothbrush and squirt some shaving cream onto the "teeth." Invite children to brush the teeth.

Obtain a gallon (or larger) plastic milk carton. Leave the cap on and glue any type of yarn around the top of the bottle for hair. Next use a marker to draw big silly eyes on the milk carton. Cut a big smile out of the carton. At the bottom of the smile (lower lip), make slits, one next to the other, with your scissors. Give children long pieces real dental floss and invite them to floss the between the slits or teeth.

Give each child a hand mirror. Then let children eat a chocolate sandwich cookie and have nothing to drink. Invite children to study their teeth in the mirror. Explain that sugary foods sticking to teeth can cause decay. Let children rinse their mouths with water. Then give them apple slices to eat. Again, have children study their teeth. Ask: What do you see sticking to your teeth? Help children understand that low-sugar crunchy foods are healthful for teeth and can even help keep teeth clean.


Check out the following Web sites for additional background and activities.

Colgate Kids' World
Lots of dental health games and activities here!

ADA Animations, Games & Puzzles
Print out a fun connect-the-dots dental health page found in the listings on this site.

KidsHealth: Body Basics -- Mouth and Teeth
You'll find some great background info here -- plus a nice diagram of the mouth and teeth.

Houghton Mifflin Shape Book Patterns
Create tooth-shaped booklets for children using this printout.

Franklin and the Tooth Fairy
Read to students the book Franklin and the Tooth Fairy, by Paulette Bourgeois (Scholastic). Then print out this coloring page for children to enjoy.