National Children's Dental Health Month
February is the perfect time to help students brush up on good oral health habits with these dental health and literacy resources.
Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. And students who are absent miss critical instruction time—especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. And students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.
That's why NEA's Read Across America and its sponsor, Renaissance Dental, are celebrating National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. Parents and childrens are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes as a way of building good oral health and literacy habits.
To further help educators and parents promote good oral health and literacy skills, check out these resources.
Want to make learning about taking care of teeth fun? Then, have your students sink their teeth into a good book. This booklist from Renaissance Dental points the way to entertaining and educational titles. Choose from from dozens of children's books about teeth, oral health, the tooth fairy, and visiting the dentist. Includes grade and reading levels. (pdf file, 3.8 MB).
How does fluoride protect your teeth? Why is flossing important? How does acid affect bones? Have kids answer these questions and more with simple and fun experiments for the classroom or home. Activities demonstrate why it's important to take care of our teeth. From Renaissance Dental's Brighter Futures program. (pdf file, 4.6 MB)
What mammal has teeth but can't chew? How much toothpaste does the average person use over a lifetime? What was the oldest toothpaste made out of and who used it? And when did brushing your teeth twice a day become a common practice? Learn the answers, and more, with these and other surprising facts about teeth and oral health, from Renaissance Dental. (pdf file, 8.6 MB).
To help kids keep track of their brushing and reading, and make sure they're hitting the goal of 2 x 2 + 20, download this handy brushing log sheet from Renaissance Dental. (pdf file, 683 KB).
Renaissance Dental offers other educational materials to help teachers and caregivers teach children about good oral health. Find links to first-grade lesson plans, activity pages, multimedia, and more.
Author Laurie Keller imagines a classroom where the students are teeth, learning how to take care of themselves in this fun and educational tale. Find related lesson plans and materials on her website.
Kids will be on the road to a healthy smile in no time with these games, puzzles, coloring sheets, and smile calendar, available from the American Dental Association website.
Browse through dozens of video clips on human teeth, animal teeth, oral health, the history of the tooth fairy, and more from PBS shows such as The Human Spark and Sid the Science Kid.
Promoting good oral health and reading skills to children nationwide