Teaching preschoolers dental health can be challenging to say the least. Our morning routines are tough. My daughter doesn’t mind brushing her teeth, but someday I think it will be more difficult for her to understand WHY it’s so important to brush her teeth. Many years ago, I taught 3-5 years olds and I will never forget how much fun we had learning about dental health. Sounds boring, but I promise there are several ways to get children excited about dental health that I will share with you now.
Fun activities to teach preschoolers dental health
The Egg and Soda Experiment
This experiment teaches and shows kids how drinking dark soda will make your teeth turn brown. The only way to get them white again is to brush your teeth or event better not drink dark soda in the first place. The egg represents your enamel.
Step one: Fill your cup with enough dark soda to cover the egg. For best results leave the egg in the drink overnight. It will still work after a few minutes, but I left my egg in longer for a dramatic effect.
Step two: Explain to your child that your soda covers your teeth like a film and sticks to your teeth. Also, ask he or she what they think will happen if you do not brush the egg or leave it sitting in soda for days.
Step three: Scoop the egg out on a paper plate and have the child brush the egg in a circular motion without toothpaste on it. Some will come off but not as much as it would with toothpaste. Explain that the more they brush with toothpaste the more likely the brown soda will come off.
When I taught this lesson to my preschoolers many years ago, I noticed that the children really got into the brushing and they wanted to see who could get their egg (tooth) the whitest. At the end of the lesson, I pulled out an untouched egg that was perfectly white and showed them the difference even after brushing. They were really amazed and I hope they understood how bad soda is for their teeth.
Watch us do this Science Experiment LIVE on MODERN MOM LIFE FACEBOOK
Good vs. Bad Foods Musical Chairs
This activity teaches kids that what they eat can affect their dental health. Have the kids pass around good and bad food items (or pictures) in a circle while music is playing. Once the music stops whomever is holding bad food it out of the game. Keep playing until you have a winner or two, but remember to ask the kids which foods are not good for your teeth.
The Tooth Fairy Tour Challenge
Cut out life size teeth out of white construction paper or foam paper. Hide them throughout your classroom (or home). Have the kids pretend they are the tooth fairy and tell them their job is to locate the teeth by the clues. Make up fun clues and hide them with all the teeth.
Get your local dentist in on the fun
Check with your local dentist and they will most likely donate toothbrushes and floss for your kids or party. For my preschool class, I called a day before and they donated 10 bags. I also ordered dentist party favors that the kids loved!
Simply telling children, “Because I said so” doesn’t really cut it anymore. I think as parents and teachers we have to show them why its important in creative and clever ways that disguise learning. These activities are great reminders for adults as well. I know that I could cut back on coffee and tea for this exact reason.
How do you teach your kids or preschoolers dental health?