A Dental Unit for Preschool Students
All About Our Teeth
Teeth are a very important part of our body. Teeth serve many functions and it is important that we take care of them properly. Preschoolers are at an age where they are gaining more independence and caring for their own teeth is a top priority. As preschool teachers we are given the opportunity to teach children all about teeth! With a preschool dental unit you will be able to give your students’ knowledge on why we have teeth, what teeth are for, and most importantly how they can care for their teeth.
When we are teaching preschoolers we have to keep in mind that they are visual and hands-on learners. They love to role play, sing songs, be creative with arts and crafts and eat yummy snacks! So with this dental unit we will try to encourage all types of interesting learning for preschoolers.
Crafts are a memorable way for preschoolers to learn. They love to get messy and explore new ways to be creative. They love bringing home a craft they made to their parents and explaining to them the lesson that went along with the craft. There are many wonderful crafts to help children learn all about dental situations.
Every child loves to use different items around the house to make art. This project will allow children to use a toothbrush to create art work.
Supply the children with a canvas board or piece of paper to start. Give all students drops of paint on a plate. Explain to the kids that they can dip their toothbrush into the paint and be creative. Use different brush strokes to create your art.
This art project makes for a cute bulletin board when the art pieces are dry and complete. You could also use floss instead of, or with, a toothbrush.
Preschoolers love to look at bright white smiles. Give the students a stack of magazines and newspapers and ask them to cut out pictures of nice smiles.
Give each student a piece of blank paper and ask them to glue their smiley pictures onto the paper. This can be their constant reminder that we need to take care of our teeth, so they will stay clean and healthy.
There are many different ways to help children learn about caring for their teeth. I believe that story time is always fun and an encouraging learning environment for preschoolers. Bring in many different books about teeth, and choose to read one every day of your unit.
Little Bill is a series of wonderful books that address all the events that will happen during any new experience. In Little Bill - A Visit to the Dentist - the author (Bill Cosby) focuses his story on children and their anxiety with visiting the dentist for the very first time. Many books speak about children losing their teeth, but this book offered an adorable story to help kids feel comfortable with the dentist. In this story Little Bill becomes nervous about his first visit to the dentist. After speaking with his family his nerves are calmed. When he arrives at the dentist for his checkup he meets a little girl who is nervous about her first appointment as well. Little Bill helps the girl remove her fears by playing dentist. Little Bill uses her teddy bear as the patient and teaches the little girl what the dentist will do.
This book is a must read with preschool children. The adorable example and positive lesson will be sure to help preschoolers calm their fear about visiting the dentist for the first time.
Other books for preschoolers on the dentist are:
- Freddie Visits the Dentist by Nicola See
- Show Me Your Smile! A Visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer) by Christine Ricci
- The Tooth Book by Theo Lesieg
- My Friend the Dentist by Jane Werner Watson
- My First Dentist Visit by Julia Allen
It is important in this unit to teach students exactly how we care for our teeth. If possible, have a dentist visit the class and bring along some of their favorite tools. If you can swing it, try having the students go visit the local dental office. Having someone speak to the students will help them to gain perspective on an interesting career, as well as the importance of caring for their teeth.
Take time to teach the students the proper way to brush their teeth. Sending them home with a new toothbrush would be fun for them. Call your local dental office and ask for donations. Some dental offices supply first time patients with a mini gift bag filled with teeth stickers, a toothbrush, tooth paste, and floss.
One activity that helps students to understand teeth is to start by counting them. Many adults can remember doing this activity as a young kid. Allow the students to count the number of teeth they find in their mouth.
It is important for students to learn what foods are healthy, and which foods are not healthy for our teeth. Create a large poster to present to the students. On the poster board draw a line down the middle, on the left side draw a happy face, on the right side draw a sad face. With the students gather together ask them what foods are healthy for our teeth and what are not health for our teeth. You could provide pictures of different types of food to stick on the board for examples. Display your new board in your classroom as a reminder for students to not feed our teeth unhealthy foods.
After deciding what are good foods for our teeth supply the preschoolers with a healthy snack. Every preschooler loves a good snack. Please keep in mind food allergies when handing out snacks.
Allow special time for the students to act as different roles related to teeth care. Ask someone to be the dentist, and someone to be the patient, and then switch! Pretend that the classroom is a dental office and help the students feel what it would be like to visit the dentist for the first time.
By the end of this dental unit for preschool your students will have a full understanding of teeth. They will know why we have them and how to care for them. With the many activities listed your students are sure to remember them for time to come.
Healthy Teeth: http://www.healthyteeth.org/