Did you know that February is Dental Health month?
It's the perfect time to teach your first grade students about how to take care of their teeth and what to expect when they go to the dentist.
This is a very fun age to talk about dental health with because most students don't begin losing their first teeth until they are 6 years old, which is typically their Kindergarten or First Grade year!
So of course, we have to throw in some fun creative writing about the tooth fairy!
In this post, I outline all of the different types of activities that I use to teach my first grade students about dental health and going to the dentist!
Learning Facts about Dental Health
As I mentioned earlier, first grade students SHOULD be familiar with how to take care of their teeth, because this is around the time they start losing them.
However, you would be surprised how many first grade students have never even been to the dentist, much less know the proper routines and tools needed to take care of their teeth.
So, I start this unit with some basic vocabulary: dentist, tooth, cavity, toothbrush, etc.
You can see one of my favorite books to use during this dental health unit “The Tooth Book” over on the left.
I love this book because it has incredible diagrams and other nonfiction text features that really help students understand their teeth and the harm that can be caused by cavities.
You can see more of my favorite books about dental health (along with affiliate links) at the bottom of this post.
Facts about Dentist and Teeth for First Grade
There are SO many different things you can teach about dental health, but you have to keep in mind that your students are young and some have very limited knowledge about dental health.
I love the activity on the right called “Going to the Dentist” because you can make it as basic or as advanced as you want to.
This is typically an activity that we do together, but the bottom of the page is a really great opportunity for sparking your students creativity!
Also on the right, you can see an activity called “Tools for your Teeth”. I think this is such an important activity because it forces students to write about what they have learned about the different tools they need to properly take care of their teeth.
Learning about the Dentist
Learning about the dentist for first grade students offers two great opportunities.
First, students learn what a dentist does. This helps them not be so anxious when they do go visit the dentist to get their teeth cleaned and examined.
Second, this provides an opportunity for students to start thinking about future job opportunities. They can put themselves in a dentist's shoes and write about what their job would be like if they were a dentist.
Dental Health Interactive Journals
Once we have spent a few days learning about how to take care of our teeth, I assign my students an interactive journal.
Interactive journals are a great activity to practice fine motor skills. It's also different and a little more fun than “just another worksheet”.
The interactive journal you see on the right is my favorite because students have to compare and contrast good and bad habits for taking care of your teeth.
You can differentiate this to meet the needs of all of your students by setting your expectations. You can have students simply draw and label, or for more of a challenge, you can have students write 2-3 sentences.
The Tooth Fairy for First Grade
As I mentioned earlier, since this is around the time that first grade students start losing their teeth, I love to wrap up this dental health unit by writing about the tooth fairy.
You can see one my favorite books for this writing assignment on the left called “You Think It's easy Being the Tooth Fairy?“.
We read this book together, then I have students write what it would be like to be the tooth fairy.