For something to become a life-long habit, it must be established as a pattern from early on. Help your pre-k students develop good dental habits with this health lesson.
A book about taking care of your teeth like The Tooth Book by Edward Miller or Take Care of Your Teeth by Don L. Curry
Chart paper and markers
Pictures of foods (or pretend food from a play kitchen) that are good for teeth and harmful to them
Old magazines or grocery store ads
Large piece of of construction paper, one for each pair of children
Glue, safety scissors
Read and discuss one of the books about taking care of your teeth to the class. As you read stop and talk abut the different things that you need to do keep your teeth healthy, like brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist.
After reading the book have the class help you make a list of the healthy habits discussed in the book. Read over the list and ask the students if they can think of any other healthy things they do to take care of their teeth.
Show the students the pictures of different foods that you have. Include healthy foods like raw vegetables and fruits and milk and cheese and unhealthy foods like candy, cookies and potato chips. Ask the students to think about which foods are good for their teeth and which ones aren't. Pass out the pictures one to each student. Call each students up one at a time to tell whether their food is healthy or not. Attach the pictures to a large piece of chart paper divided into two parts with a smiley face at the top of one side for the good foods and a sad face at the top of the other.
After you have finished discussing all of the foods, pass out paper, scissors, glue and old magazines or grocery store ads to the students. Show the class how to fold the paper in half and draw a smiley face at the top of one side and a sad one at the top of the other. Then have them work in pairs to create their own collages of foods that are healthy and harmful to teeth.
Ask each to name one food that is healthy to teeth and one that is harmful. You could also have them draw a picture of a healthy tooth habit that they learned about.
- Invite a dentist or dental hygienist to the class to talk about good dental health and proper brushing habits.
- Use the bottom of egg cartons cartons cut into two rows to let the students practice flossing. Give each students a row of six egg carton "teeth" and some yarn or dental floss. Help them tape the cartons to their desks and use the yarn to practice the proper flossing technique.
- Prepare a special snack of foods that are good for your teeth like apple slices and carrot sticks and enjoy it on the last day of your dental health unit.
This lesson is sure to be a hit with your students. For more ideas be sure to check out these other preschool dental activities.