While wreaths get recycled and nutcrackers march to storage, teachers head back from winter break to let lesson plans begin again. And if your lessons are lacking luster, you’re in luck. February is Children’s Dental Health Month and we want to make it easy for you to teach students healthy habits. Here are 4 dental-themed activities and ideas for your post-holiday planning:
Grade Level: K-4
Materials: 2 hard-boiled eggs, Fluoride gel 4 oz. to 6 oz. (available from your dentist, and some pharmacies), 2 clean plastic containers, several cans of dark soda
1. Place a hard-boiled egg in one of the plastic containers and cover it with the fluoride gel or solution. Let it soak for 24 hours.
2. Place the “treated” egg in one of the clean containers and the “untreated” egg in the other.
3. Cover both eggs with soda and let soak. Change the soda every twelve hours for two days.
4. Discuss observations each time the soda is changed. The untreated egg will begin to dissolve slightly, and the shell will become stained by the dark soda. The treated egg should not show a reaction until much later.
Marshmallow Teeth Model
Grade Level: K-2
Materials: Teeth outline pattern, 2 large bags of jumbo marshmallows, scissors, glue, construction paper, yarn
Make a set of teeth out of large marshmallows as a class project. Use a magic marker to draw teeth outlines on construction paper. Break students into three groups: one group will flatten marshmallows for incisors, another will flatten and clip corners of marshmallows for canines and the third group will press in the middle of marshmallows to make molars. Next, have each group glue marshmallows to the paper in the correct order: three molars on the side each end, one canine on each side and four incisors across the front. Let dry and use the model to point out how food can get stuck in ridges and spaces. Practice “flossing” with some yarn.
Key Messages about Teeth
• My front teeth are for biting.
• My back teeth are for munching.
• My pointed teeth are for tearing.
•. My back teeth are for crunching.
• Teeth help you eat, smile and talk. Your smile makes you unique!
Happy Tooth/Sad Tooth
Grade Level: K-1 National Health Education Standards: 1, 7
Materials: Happy/Sad Tooth Template, magazines, scissors, glue
Students will identify nutritious foods and drinks that can keep our teeth healthy, and foods and drinks that can hurt our teeth.
- Lead the class in reviewing the importance of teeth and explain that teeth help us chew healthy food, which keeps our bodies healthy, and helps us to learn. The choices we make in our foods and drinks can help or hurt our teeth.
- Help students brainstorm a list of foods and drinks that they think would be healthy for our teeth and why.
- Repeat with a list of foods and drinks that would be bad for our teeth and why.
- Give each student a Happy Tooth sheet and a Sad Tooth sheet.
- Instruct students to cut out healthy foods and drinks from magazines and glue them to the Happy Tooth.
- Instruct students to cut out unhealthy foods and drinks from magazines and glue them to the Sad Tooth.
Fuel your students’ imaginations while educating them about proper dental hygiene. From Tooth Fairy tales and brushing basics, to cavities and dental visits, these books cover it all. Find our recommended book list here.
For more dental health resources, check out the National Education Association’s Children’s Dental Health Activities or visit the National Children’s Dental Health Month website.