February is quickly approaching, and you know that means… Dental Health Month! It may sound strange, but I’ve honestly always loved teaching about dental health. I’m personally not a fan of going to the dentist (although I do go!), but I love helping ease the confusion and fear of dentist visits and taking care of teeth.
I think most would agree that being a teacher brings the responsibility of helping kids become well-rounded individuals, even in the area of self-care. And although teeth aren’t always the most flattering topic area of care, it’s so important to instill in our kids how essential it is! Sure, going to any doctor visit is a little uneasy, but the more we can talk about it and normalize it, the better our kids are going to feel!
So, in preparation of Dental Health Month, I’ve come up with 5 dental health activities you can incorporate into your classroom during the month of February!
Let’s get started!
Fine Motor Dental Health Activities
Incorporating fine motor play into your school day is really valuable and it’s a great way to introduce any topic – even dental health! This resource has so many dental health activities for you to choose from! Multiple fine motor skills covered from tracing, tweezing, and linking, to hole punching, stringing beads, cutting and gluing, and letter and number writing.
Some of the activities are printables and require little to no preparation, while others I would suggest laminating and gathering a few other supplies to complete.
One of my personal favorites in this bundle is the “Write and Brush” activity. Have your students practice writing specific letters or numbers on the Write and Brush tooth, then have them brush it off with their own toothbrush! You can do this in whole group or small groups to check students’ letter writing skills. You could even practice sight words by calling out a sight word and having students spell it!
You can find super cheap toothbrush options at Dollar Tree or Walmart. Or, check with your local dentist office! Most are super happy to donate a few!
Dental Health Mini Book
Any time you can incorporate books while also teaching life skills… win! “I Love My Teeth” talks about how to take care of your teeth which touches on brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. It also touches on going to the dentist, too!
Of course this mini book is perfect for discussing dental health, but I also love incorporating mini books to practice sight words and reading simple sentences.
Dental Health Tracing Book
Here’s another fun mini book you can incorporate and also utilize for letter practice! This tracing book has 10 pages – title page and 9 words to be traced. Of course it’s always a good idea to have your students use a pencil when they trace to practice their grasp, but I know they’d also love tracing with their toothbrush, too! 🙂
Virtual Guest Speaker
Depending how close you are to your local dentist office, taking a field trip to the dentist is a super fun way to get kids excited about the idea of teeth care! Our district isn’t doing field trips right now due to COVID-19. However, you could think about inviting a dentist to do a Zoom call to talk to your students about dental health.
Your local dentist or dental hygienist may love this opportunity to get involved with your classroom virtually, answer any questions the students may have, or just be a friendly face they’ll remember to go along with the experience.
If you’re not able to connect with any professionals, here are some dental health videos that you could use!
How to Brush Your Teeth
Why Do We Brush Our Teeth? Curious Questions
Brushing a Whale’s Teeth
BrainPop Jr. Videos (if you have access)
And finally, it wouldn’t be Dental Health Month without some of these great read alouds! There are so many great options to talk about teeth, trips to the dentist, and just overall importance of dental health! Never underestimate what a child can get out of a relatable story.
Here are a few short stories that would be great for your classroom:
- Sugarbug Doug: All About Cavities, Plaque, and Teeth by Dr. Ben Magleby
- The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums by Edward Miller – This one has lots of fun facts related to teeth!
- The Night Before the Dentist by Natasha Wing
- Pout-Pout Fish Goes to the Dentist by Deborah Diesen – You can’t go wrong with Pout-Pout Fish!
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan & Jan Berenstain
- Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists? by Patrick O’Donnell – This one has fun alliteration!