Parents know that many children learn best by doing. We’ve put together four great activities for teaching kids about dental health, the effects of tooth decay, and the importance of forming good dental care habits.
Verbal lessons aren’t always the best way to teach your children about oral hygiene. There are several reasons why this is the case, but the upshot is that many children learn best by doing, this matters a great deal when it comes to developing the right habits for good dental health.
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4 Great Activities For Teaching Kids About Dental Health
Try one of these interactive lessons the next time you want to teach your child the best ways to take care of their teeth. Cycle through all them over the period of a month or two for best results.
1. Hard-Boiled Egg Experiment – Show The Effects of Sugar on Tooth Enamel
Parents understand very well that sugar is the chief contributing cause of tooth decay, but just conveying this information to children isn’t always enough for the lesson to sink in. That’s why the following ‘experiment’ is a great tool for showing kids firsthand the effects that sugar can have on tooth enamel.
Here’s how it works. Simply take a hard-boiled egg and drop it into a clear glass of soda or juice for a period of 24 hours. Explain to your child that the eggshell is made of a material that’s similar to their tooth enamel and have them observe the stark discoloration that appears as the egg soaks in the sugary drink. When the 24 hours is over, have them remove the egg from the glass and remove the discoloration with a toothbrush and toothpaste. It’s at this point that you can describe the harmful dental effects of sugar effectively.
2. Use An Apple To Teach Your Child About Cavities
This is an up close and very tangible way of teaching your child about tooth decay. Have your child pretend that an apple is one of their teeth. Then, take a small stick and use it to make a hole in the apple. Explain that this is similar to a cavity, which can develop in their tooth without proper care.
Leave the apple somewhere that it can easily be seen for a few days. Then, have your child examine the hole in the apple and ask them to compare it to what poor dental habits will do to their teeth. This will bring the idea of tooth decay home in a very effective way.
3. Show Plaque Build-Up With Red Food Coloring
Here’s a great way to show kids how plaque can sneak up and damage their teeth. Place a few drops of red food coloring in a small cup of water. Have your child swish it around in their mouth for 15 seconds and spit it into a second cup or the sink. Then, use a magnifying mirror to show them the red areas that indicate plaque build-up.
Next, have your child brush their teeth thoroughly and repeat the procedure. Help them examine how much of the plaque has been removed and discuss the places where it tends to hide. For more information on this subject, contact your local dentist.
4. Paint Construction Paper Teeth To Show The Effects of Good Brushing Habits
This is a fun way to show how important good brushing is. Take a few sheets of yellow construction paper and cut several tooth shapes out of them. Show the ‘teeth’ to your child and tell them about the yellowing that can result if they don’t brush their teeth properly.
Then, give them some white model paint and ask them to pretend that it’s toothpaste. Have them use the toothpaste to paint the teeth white again and emphasize that this is what proper tooth brushing can do to preserve their pretty smile.
I hope you are inspired by these ideas for teaching kids about dental health! Let me know if you have additional ideas for parents to help kids with hands on learning at home.