Dental Health Unit
February is children's dental health month and, in the spirit of keeping your kiddos “pearly whites” healthy, Darcey of Play 2 Grow has put together some fun lesson activities to try!
Teach students about proper tooth care through an interactive science experiment. Your students might be surprised to learn that, like a hard boiled egg, our teeth have an outer “shell” or layer called enamel that can become stained, discolored, and even broken (i.e. cavities) if we don't take proper care of it through brushing, flossing, swishing mouthwash, and regular visits to the dentist. To demonstrate this concept, at the beginning of class, submerge a hard boiled egg into a glass or jar of Coke. At the end of the day, pull the egg from the liquid and have students describe what has happened. Most will notice that the egg, normally white, has been stained a dull brown color. Discuss with your students how, if the remnants of food and drink left on their teeth after meals are not cleaned off every day, their enamel can become weakened, leading to cavities, and their “pearly whites” just might not stay pearly for long. Toothy Snack Activity
To go along with the science lesson, discuss with your students how certain foods can be worse for tooth health than others – specifically “sticky” foods that can get stuck on and between teeth and cause breakdown of the enamel. To demonstrate this idea, set up a mirror in the front of the classroom, then provide students with several Oreo cookies. Invite them to eat the cookies then file one at a time to the mirror to see what their teeth look like. Have students clear their mouth then provide them with several apple slices. Complete the same process and discuss the differences between the two snacks. Consider making a list of foods and have your students vote on which they think are good/bad for tooth health.
Toothy Sensory Play
Fill the sensory bin with cool whip, adding a touch of peppermint oil to make it smell like toothpaste. Add some dental tools – toothbrushes, tongue scrapers, tongue depressors, empty mouthwash bottles, empty floss dispensers, empty toothpaste tubes, etc. – and invite your students to have some “dental” fun!