There are several good visual aids and resources to help preschoolers learn about dental health during show and tell. Young children often learn best when they can see and feel things that represent concepts that they might have difficulty understanding such as tooth decay. Your child can offer suggestions as to what items he would like to share with his class at his preschool's dental health show and tell, many of which are probably available in your own home. Your local dentist can also help you find simple objects to help children learn the importance of dental health.
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Gather a small collection of different kinds of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Children will enjoy seeing the different colors and flavors of toothpaste available. Your child can pass around toothbrushes designed for infants, children and adults. Encourage your child to explain why an infant toothbrush looks and feels different than an adult toothbrush. A toothbrush and toothpaste designed for a dog or cat can help children learn that pets also need to have good dental health.
Healthy and Unhealthy Foods
Children might benefit from seeing the differences between foods that contribute to tooth decay and those that help build strong teeth. According to the Mouth Healthy website, whole grains, fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy contribute to growth and a healthy mouth. For show and tell, fill a container with broccoli, carrots, blueberries, cheese and whole-grain crackers to help children learn to identify healthy foods. Fill a second container filled with a soda can, candy, cookies and other sweets to help preschoolers recognize foods that they should only eat on special occasions.
Healthy versus Decayed Teeth
Although most preschoolers still have all their baby teeth, the concept of losing them to grow adult teeth likely fascinates them. Children need to understand the importance of taking care of their baby teeth to help grow new and healthy adult teeth. Your child might want to show the class a picture of a child with a healthy smile, as well as one of a child with a smile that shows decayed baby teeth. To remind the class that they will lose their baby teeth when their adult teeth start to grow, your child might want to show a picture of a child with a big, toothless grin. Finally, your child can show a picture of an older child with healthy adult teeth, as well as a picture of an older child with decayed adult teeth.
Dental Health Worker
Your child's preschool class might enjoy meeting a dentist or dental assistant. Consider asking your child's dentist to come and speak to the preschool class. The dentist could explain basic mouth care to children and give them an opportunity to ask questions. According to the Know Your Teeth website, misconceptions as to when children should visit the dentist cause many preschoolers to miss important dental visits. The dentist could pass out information to send home to parents about when children should see a dentist and tips for proper dental care.
- Mouth Healthy: Nutrition
- School Nurse News: Dental Health
- American Dental Association: Smile Starts
- South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control: Oral Health
- Know Your Teeth: Is My Child at Risk for Early Tooth Decay?
- The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Sharecare: Does tooth decay in baby teeth affect adult teeth?
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