- Purchase a new toothbrush for each of the children, or have them bring one from home. Have some toothpaste available, and have them each brush their teeth while you watch, comment and encourage. When done, check out the bright smiles.
- Show a photo of a baby smile with no teeth. How do babies chew with no teeth? Discuss food that baby eats and drinks, and the difference between “then and now”.
- Give the children a long slice of apple (or similarly crunchy) to eat. Point out which teeth they use to bite, and which to chew. How many times do they chew before they swallow?
- Show, explain, and use dental floss.
- People need teeth to chew most of their food before they swallow it. People need to eat food to stay alive and healthy. Most people are omnivorous, so they have the kind of teeth that can chew both plants and meat. It is very important to keep teeth healthy, so they won’t decay.
- We can help keep our teeth healthy by brushing at least twice a day, after breakfast and after dinner.
- We also need our teeth to help us when we talk. Let’s say some words and letter sounds, and figure out how we use our teeth when talking. (sounds d, l, n, t, th, come to mind)
- The food we eat affects the health of our teeth. Eat sugary or sticky food in moderation, and try to brush after eating it.
- Many animals have teeth. Animals that eat mostly meat (carnivores) have strong sharp teeth to chew their food, and animals that eat mostly plants (herbivores) have smaller, flatter teeth. Some animals have no teeth at all. Let’s read some books and look online to find out about animal teeth.(See web site below)
- Count your teeth.
- Categorize healthy food for teeth, and sugary sticky food. Use real food, or make a chart with drawings or clipart, and label the food.
- Use an old, used, recyclable toothbrush to paint with. (Using a new one sends a conflicting message.)
- Compare 3 different kinds of toothpaste. Look, smell, rub between fingertips, taste. Discuss differences and similarities. Squirt a sample of each on a piece of card, and compare colors. Will it dry? Wait and see. (Painting with toothpaste also sends a conflicting message).
- Cut out a big red construction paper smile, and have the children use small sponges or blocks to print a row of teeth towards the top, and a row of teeth towards the bottom.