Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dental Health Activities For Preschool and Kindergarten

Since childhood dental hygiene is such an important topic, I thought I'd include a few activity ideas as well as resources for presenting your kids a unit study with oral health as the central theme throughout the unit.  I did find quite a few resources with a number of ideas and activities that related to the theme, but not many of the resources focused very directly on teaching children the actual care of their teeth so first I'd like to offer a few activity ideas that will help your kids have the skills they need to truly care for their gums and teeth.

Activities to Help Kids Practice Good Oral Care:

Healthy Food and Drink Choices

Sugary foods encourage the growth of a variety of germs that cause things like gum disease or tooth decay, but acidic foods also wear down the enamel of the tooth.  Even vitamin "water" is really a juice in terms of how it can affect the chemistry of the interior of the mouth. 

Do a quick lesson about "sugar bugs" and the foods they like to eat (include sugary foods as well as acidic).  Then give the kids a bunch of magazines.  Magazines with lots of food in them are best, but it isn't necessary that they all be for "foodies".  Have the kids fill up one paper with cut out pics of things that make the sugar bugs grow and multiply a lot.  Then, have the kids cut out pictures of foods that still need to be brushed off, but are healthy for the body and can help strengthen teeth from within because they are high in vitamins and minerals.

Brushing Teeth

The Doctors Show three kids what to do on the show.  My hygienist recommends more of a flicking motion (more like the dentist uses in this video) moving away from the gum line than a circular (healthier for the gums and still gets the gunk), but finding a fun video that shows this flicking motion  wasn't something I could do.  Here is Colgate's Take on how brushing occurs (hosted by a young girl).

Caring for Gums and Tissue

For many kids, flossing is the especially difficult skill.  I know of many parents that simply resort to letting their kids use mouth wash and figuring the kids are okay.  Unfortunately, rinsing simply does not replace using floss.  Using a water pik can be a wonderful activity for gum health, but rinsing is definitely no replacement to flossing. 

Have your kids construct a mouthful of teeth as in the picture below.  You will need pink construction paper cut into a long oval shape, mini marshmallows, yarn and glue. 

I folded the paper in the middle so the top jaw can fold over the bottom jaw after the glue dries.  When it is done, I stuck a few sequins between some of the teeth here and there.  Alice used the yarn to "floss" the teeth.  In real life, she uses those flossers because it helps her hold the floss so she can focus on scraping the "gunk" off of her teeth.  I then go back over her flossing job myself, just to be sure.

The point of this activity is that they practice the motion of moving the yarn so it presses gently into the side of the "teeth" marshmallows.  With some guidance, they can then hopefully transfer this understanding to their own flossing process before bed every night.  If their gums aren't healthy, it will be uncomfortable, but with consistent practice at keeping the gum line clean and "gunk" free, it will get better and easier because their gums will get healthier and less sensitive.

Resource for a Premade Kindergarten Unit including printables.  This resource has a number of pages focused on learning vocabulary words and colors.


Abdullahel Kafe said...

Great post. This article is really very effective and informative. I think its must be helpful for our dental health. Thanks for sharing your nice post about Dental Health Activities For Preschool and Kindergarten .
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Plessis Dental said...

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