As soon as those little pearly whites start to emerge, it's time to start thinking about dental care! Caring for one’s teeth is an essential practice every child should learn as early as possible. Not only does good dental hygiene help prevent painful cavities and gum disease, but it also sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits.
In this lesson, grade 1 students learn the importance of proper tooth brushing through the story of Davey Doddle. Davey is looking for a place to rest when he stumbles upon two young people, Hi and Jean. When he stops to ask them if they know any good resting place, he can't understand their response as they continue to brush their teeth. Davey soon realizes they are very conscious about their dental hygiene and never stop brushing their teeth. He explains to them that they should not brush their teeth all the time, but only in the morning, after every meal, before going to bed, and maybe after eating sweets.
"As they discuss the positive thoughts, actions, and feelings associated with brushing their teeth, the class realizes that brushing is a positive action that makes them feel good about themselves."
After listening to the story, the class participates in an engaging SEL activity where they learn the proper way to brush their teeth. The teacher explains that first graders may lose some "baby" teeth and gain some "permanent" teeth. It's crucial for them to take care of their permanent teeth as they will have them for the rest of their lives. As they discuss the positive thoughts, actions, and feelings associated with brushing their teeth, the class realizes that brushing is a positive action that makes them feel good about themselves.
In addition to brushing their teeth, first graders must also learn how to floss and visit the dentist at least twice a year. Neglecting their teeth can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.
Moreover, poor oral hygiene can affect one's self-esteem, social interactions, and overall quality of life. Children with dental problems may feel embarrassed, avoid smiling or talking, have trouble concentrating in school, and engage in chronic absenteeism. By teaching children the importance of caring for their teeth, they become empowered to make healthy and informed decisions about their oral hygiene.