February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. To celebrate, Simply Orthodontics in Irvine and the Tooth Fairy visited a few neighboring Irvine schools to teach students about why it is important to take care of their teeth starting at a young age.
We wanted to share our lesson plan for those parents and teachers interested in teaching kids about oral hygiene. Our office visited children ranging from 2-11 years old. They focused on three topics:
Why Do We Need Teeth?
Teeth are necessary for chewing food, of course. We asked the students what sort of foods require chewing (carrots, chips, salads) and emphasized that if they don’t take care of their teeth, they wouldn’t be able to eat all of their favorite foods. Certain words we say also require our teeth for proper pronunciation. Try to say words that begin with “s” or ends with “-th” without your teeth. Lastly, we use our teeth to smile. Of course, as an orthodontist in Irvine, we need to talk about smiling!
Happy Tooth and Sad Tooth
This was a fun section of our lesson plan and it was interactive. Two students volunteered to wear two giant white shirts for us and we labeled one child the “Happy Tooth” and one the “Sad Tooth”. We then held out pictures of different types of foods and asked the students if the food would make a tooth happy or sad. Dr. Shung explained how sugar can cause cavities. Those food items that were sugary (cupcake, ice cream, soda) were placed on the Sad Tooth and food items that are healthy (celery, apple, cheese) were placed on the Happy Tooth using Velcro.
How to Brush
The students enjoyed this activity the most. Empty food boxes were stuck on the shirts to represent food or plaque stuck on teeth. Dr. Shung then took a giant toothbrush to “brush” off the food. He emphasized the importance of brushing at least twice a day and to brush the surfaces of your teeth in circular motions. Some food was stuck in between the students (teeth) even after brushing so we had to use rope (floss) to remove them. This showed the students that while your toothbrush can get a lot of plaque and food off of your teeth, the bristles can’t reach everything.
For the older students, we showed them these pictures of a person’s teeth with multiple cavity fillings along with their panoramic X-ray to show what can happen if you don’t take care of your teeth.
The bonus of our visits was being able to deliver hygiene kits with a toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, and floss to every student we spoke to at the schools.
We would love to bring the Tooth Fairy to other classrooms and educate more kids in Irvine and Orange County! Please contact our orthodontic office at (949) 264-3314 so we can come to your classroom!