Teaching Dental Health Through Creative Activities with Kids

When your kids are young, it can be hard to impress upon them the importance of things like toothbrushing and flossing. They live in the moment and just want to do what feels good! But while that might seem like a challenge for you as the parent and educator, you can actually use this to your advantage…

One of the most effective ways to teach important lessons to kids is through play and other creative activities. By connecting oral health and hygiene to something your child already loves to do, you can build positive associations with oral hygiene, while sneaking those essential lessons under their radar. 

One fun educational activity kids love is baking. It combines quality parent-child time with making a mess and enjoying delicious sweet treats – all your child’s favorite things! So whether you’re celebrating a first lost tooth or prepping for a dentist visit, use it as an opportunity to get cooking! Not only will you have a blast baking together, you can also quiz them on teeth-health facts with simple questions such as:

  • How often should teeth be brushed?
  • What happens if you don’t brush your teeth?
  • What is flossing, and why is it important?

Although you don't want to encourage your kids to eat sweets too often, a cookie now and then is okay as a special treat. For something less sugary, though, you can always try the apple smile snacks.

Teeth-Shaped Cookies

What you’ll need:

  • A sugar cookie recipe and ingredients (you can also use prepackaged sugar cookie mix or dough).
  • Cookie cutters shaped like teeth and other dental items, such as toothbrushes or toothpaste tubes.
  • A frosting recipe or some pre-made frosting.

How to make:

  1. Follow the recipe as stated in your source – this will likely involve making the dough then refrigerating for one to two hours.
  2. When it's ready, divide the dough into quarter portions and work with one part at a time. Keep the remaining dough chilled.
  3. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a floured tabletop.
  4. Cut out cookies with your cookie cutter(s) and place them onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned.
  6. Cool completely before decorating.

How to decorate:

  1. Create the icing using your desired recipe (or use store-bought icing).
  2. Add food coloring to the desired shade – white frosting for the teeth cookies and colorful frosting for the toothbrush cookies.
  3. Spread the frosting onto the cookie with a flat knife or pipe it on using a ziploc bag with a tiny hole cut in the corner.
  4. Outline each cookie to give it definition. You can decorate toothbrush cookies to enhance the shape and brush bristles, or draw a smiley face on a tooth cookie.

Apple Smile Treat

What you’ll need:

  • Apple slices.
  • Peanut butter or almond butter, depending on your child’s preference.
  • Mini marshmallows.

How to make:

  1. Start with two sliced apple wedges and spread peanut butter on each.
  2. Place miniature marshmallows in a row on one wedge to look like teeth.
  3. Place the other wedge on top. You now have a "toothy smile" to eat and enjoy!

Making teeth cookies or apple smile treats with your kids is a good bonding activity and engages children in dental awareness from an early age. On top of that, this project will help you start a dialogue on why toothbrushing is essential to prevent tooth decay.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

ORAL HEALTH QUIZ

What's behind your smile?

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DO YOU KNOW?

2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay

ORAL HEALTH QUIZ

What's behind your smile?

Take our Oral Health assessment to get the most from your oral care routine

DO YOU KNOW?

2.3 billion

people worldwide suffer from tooth decay