Sunday, August 19, 2012

Things Your Children Can Learn From Their Own Teeth

My Loose Tooth

I had a loose tooth, a wiggly, jiggly loose tooth.
For More Info about the Images Visit This Link
I had a loose tooth, hanging by a thread.
So I pulled my loose tooth, this wiggly jiggly loose tooth,
Put it 'neath the pillow and then I went to bed.
Someone took my loose tooth, my wiggly, jiggly loose tooth.
Now I have a nickel and a hole in my head.

FYI: Children grow 20 baby teeth. Adults have 32 (assuming none have been pulled and wisdom teeth came in). Teeth usually start falling out at about age 5 or 6. If you'd like your child to learn more from the experience, here are a few ideas to try.

Draw a picture of the two diagrams of teeth provided on this site the two diagrams are side by side. Have your child cross out teeth from the baby side as they fall out and color in the adult ones as they grow in. You might even record dates on the chart. It is good practice using visual representations to record and display data.

Your child might be interested to know that a baby's teeth start growing six months before the baby is born, but aren't cut and visible until 4 - 5 months at the earliest but usually around 6 or 7 months. When looking at the tooth diagram together, you can discuss shape and size and how different shapes and sizes are made for different things. "biting teeth" (incisors and canines) are quite different from "chewing" teeth (bicuspids and molars). Your child might be interested to know that many mammals have "baby teeth" or "milk teeth". If you know of anyone with a puppy that might loose a milk tooth soon that would be willing to keep it for you, it can be fun to compare.

The shape of a tooth is very telling in regard to what the tooth is for. pointier, more narrowly shaped teeth tend to be for tearing meat while rounder, flatter teeth are for grinding grains and other "vegetation". We can learn a lot about an animal's diet from its skull and the teeth there. Here is a link to a variety of sites with activities and lessons for the elementary school student about animal skulls and teeth. Most of the sites are for slightly older kids so you may want to preview programs as well as participate with your child.

Give your child a small dentists mirror and let him/her look at her own "biting" and "chewing" teeth and compare them. Go ahead and giver her/him something to eat and have him/her think about which teeth she is using to "bite" and "chew".

Show him/her photos of herself/himself as an infant and let your child enjoy stories about her/his own younger childhood. Compare how their teeth grew in with how their teeth are now falling out or how their adult teeth are growing in. More often than not, adult teeth will follow the same pattern as the baby teeth did while growing in, but the pattern can vary and it can be fun for your child to have you tell him/her stories about his/her own (earlier) childhood.

You can also ask your dentist next time you visit to allow you to take home your x-rays. This way you can look at the "roots" too and include the x-ray in a record book with the picture he/she is filling in about his/her teeth

Pediatric dentists and hygienists are often more than happy to offer up information and ideas to kids that are curious. Don't be afraid to encourage your child to ask questions of this important set of health care professionals in his/her life.

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