February is National Children's Dental Health Month, but learning about tooth care through fun dental activities for kids is possible any time of year. Simple crafts and experiments will teach children how important good hygiene and oral care are for a beautiful smile. Enjoy some toothy fun with these interesting projects, which you can do with your children at home.
Toothbrush Painting Teaches Brushing Movements
Cut a tooth shape from a large sheet of white paper. Give your child an old toothbrush and let her dip it into poster paint and brush the paper tooth as if it's her own. Show him how to make movements up and down, back and forth and circularly on the painting. This art project is fun and teaches children the concepts of proper brushing. Please remind young children that old toothbrushes are for painting and not to be put in their mouth.
Did You Brush Your Teeth Today?
Children have 20 baby teeth and will have a total of 32 permanent teeth when they grow up. Keeping a toothbrushing chart will stress the importance of brushing daily. Draw a large outline of a person's smiling mouth on red poster board with black marker. Hang this on the wall. For every day your child brushes his teeth, invite him to glue one dried white navy bean on the gum part to look like a tooth. Use this chart like a calendar, adding a new "tooth" for every day of the month. At the end of this period, you will have a beautiful grin smiling back at you!
How Sugar Affects Our Teeth
We tell our children not to eat too many sweets because sugar that's not removed by brushing our teeth can cause cavities on the tooth enamel. For a simple experiment at home, submerge a hard-boiled egg (which is made of calcium carbonate similar to an enamel material) into a clear glass of cola or grape juice for 24 hours. Notice the discoloration of the eggshell. Invite your child to gently brush the egg with a toothbrush and toothpaste. As he removes the stain, ask what caused the stain. Now discuss why toothbrushing is so important after eating.
Happy Face Snacks
Making happy faces with your food is one of the many dental activities for kids that you can do with your family. Provide a variety of healthy snacks on the table. Give your children a paper plate and challenge them to create a happy face using foods like broccoli florets, carrot coins, orange and apple slices, cauliflower florets, nuts, raisins and popcorn. After they have finished their creation, snap a photo for the memory and let them enjoy their edible art. This is a great time to discuss healthy foods versus junk foods. Ask why your kids think these foods provide healthy teeth and a happy face.