I am a bad mom. I ignored my inner voice that said my children needed to be seen by a dentist to make sure they have healthy teeth and listened to a friend (also a dentist) who told me that they did not need to see the dentist until about five years old. “Teach them how to floss and you are fine.”
At one year old, you should take your child to see a pediatric dentist. Not a regular dentist. Ask me how I know and I will tell you about the $3,000 dentist bill I am paying this month. And that is AFTER insurance. AND, they said we have “really good dental insurance. Probably the BEST.”
So, after three VERY expensive trips to see the pediatric dentist, I sat down with my children for a healthy teeth unit study to protect this costly investment my husband and I had placed in their mouths.
For this lesson, you will need:
- egg carton
- hair brush
- electric screwdriver
- black permanent marker
- scraps of tissue paper
- piece of aluminum foil
- Awesome Anatomy: Teeth Worksheet (Education.com)
- Anatomy of a Tooth Worksheet (Download here – based on Anatomy of a Tooth from WebMD)
We started our healthy teeth unit study with the worksheets.
The children learned the names for the different teeth and their functions. Even though the worksheet did not detail instructions, I asked the children to color the teeth, matching the name to the letter.
We also labeled a diagram of a tooth I made to learn what was on the inside.
Next, I showed them an egg carton that I had prepared with tissue paper to represent apple pieces and a black mark to be a cavity.
I told the children that we were pretending the egg carton was inside a mouth and then said, “I have a friend named Carl who just ate an apple. He knows that he should brush his teeth after every meal.” Using the hairbrush, we pretended that Carl was brushing his teeth. When we finished, my oldest son immediately said, “He didn’t get all of it!”
I explained that even though we might think our teeth are clean, we cannot get in between our teeth with the toothbrush. That is where the dental floss comes in handy. Using a piece of yarn, I showed the children how you move down one side of the tooth and up the other. They took turns practicing with the egg carton.
Once our friend “Carl” had clean teeth, the children asked if the black spot was a cavity. “Indeed,” I told them, “I think it is! Carl should go to the dentist like you did.”
So, our poor friend “Carl” had his tooth drilled (with parental supervision) using an electric screwdriver and then received a silver filling (aluminum foil.)
Once our experiment with “Carl” was over, it was time to practice what we learned by heading to the bathroom. The children brushed, flossed, and used mouthwash.
Now, even on the evenings when I do not realize they have not brushed and flossed, they remind me. I love that!
Additional Resources for a Healthy Teeth Unit Study
- Apple Cavity from Mama Bee from the Hive
- Apple Teeth Craft from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
- Happy and Sad Tooth Collage from A Teaching Mommy
- Paint a Tooth Clean from Rockabye Butterfly
- Practice Flossing with Legos from Journey to Josie
- Toothbrush Book and Craft from Kid’s Soup
- Tooth Taxis from East Coast Mommy Blog
- What do drinks do to your teeth from 1st Grade with Miss Snowden
- Brushed Teeth Punch Cards from She’s Kinda Crafty
- Color a Toothbrush from Eberhart’s Explorers
- Dental Literary Centers from Doodle Bugs
- Dental Themed Worksheets for 1st and 2nd Grade from The Happy Housewife
- Dentist Coloring Page from Girls Coloring
- Dentist Unit from A Teaching Mommy
- Healthy Tooth Maze from Kid’s Soup
- Hidden Dental Words from Dentist 4 Kids
- Hidden Toothbrushes from Dentist 4 Kids
- Unscramble the Dental Words from Dentist 4 Kids
- Cavity Risk Quiz from My Smile Kids
- Plaque Attack from Plackers
- Save the Tooth from Healthy Teeth
- To Tell the Tooth from Mouth Healthy Kids
- Tooth Games from Colgate