One of the things I most enjoy about being a dental hygienist is helping parents and children from the very beginning (even before the baby is born!) to know the healthy habits that can influence dental health for an entire life.
February is the month that we put a national spotlight on children’s dentistry with National Children’s Dental Health Month. Often, it is the time when teachers will bring dental health education into the classroom. Throughout my career it has been a joy to be invited to a variety of classrooms to talk about teeth, nutrition and the how-to-do-its.
This year I joined The America’s Tooth Fairy Project through the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, founded by Esther Wilkins, the woman who literally wrote the textbook on dental hygiene - including the one I used in my own educational preparation. With my membership I also received a package of new dental health education materials! Opening up my new box of possibilities, I noticed some of the ‘props’ I have been using had started to look a little tired. That inspired me to investigate other new resources.
The world of online and social networking came to my aid, and I have a whole new set of tools to share! While I began my research to assist teachers for classroom projects and activities, I have found a wonderful treasure of videos, interactive activities and information that could be used by parents (and grandparents!) at home as well as teachers in the classroom.
I am delighted to share my 'toolbox' with you and hope that you will find something here to be a resource for the children in your life. We need all the ‘tooth fairies’ we can get!
Ad Council Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives
Great videos, information, and helpful ideas for parents, children and educators
National Institute of Health: Open Wide - Trek Inside
A series of age appropriate materials, including kid-friendly videos that parents and teachers will love
American Dental Association
The Smile Smarts Oral Health Curriculum is designed for preschool through grade eight students — offering flexible lesson plans, support materials, hands-on classroom demontrations, student activity sheets and suggestions for further oral health activities
California Dental Hygienists Association
Excellent resources for teachers that are specific to different age groups
Cases for Student Dental Hygienists
The 'Classroom Activities, Community Dentistry and Public Health' section (used for dental hygiene students) has some great ideas including these PowerPoint presentations
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
A good list of links, including resources for Head Start programs and other early childhood programs
Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures
Educational resources for brighter smiles and futures with dental care activities, information and more
Colgate Oral Care Education - Health Dental Care Habits Information for Educators
Free educational materials to teach children the importance of dental hygiene by building a fun brushing and flossing routine together (also promotes Colgate products)