LESSON: TOOTH BRUSHING
 

Purpose:
To develop tooth brushing skills.
 

Materials Needed:
Toothbrush for each child
Fluoride toothpaste with ADA Seal of Acceptance
Small paper plates or construction paper
Paints or crayons
Glue
Yarn (optional)
Wooden sticks
Activity Pages, "How to Brush"
Rolled pieces of masking tape, small pieces of velcro, or small pieces of felt
Large mirror (optional)
Activity Page, "Toothbrush Pattern"
Parent letter, "Tooth brushing"
Attachment to Parent letter, "Tooth brushing Chart"
 

Background Information for the Teacher:
Brushing: The prevention of dental disease depends on the complete removal of plaque from all surfaces of the teeth. Cleaning each tooth carefully is very important. The teeth should be brushed daily to remove plaque from the outside, inside, and biting surfaces. A number of ways of tooth brushing are acceptable. Here is a method that is often suggested:

Place the head of the toothbrush beside the teeth, with the bristle tips at a 45-degree angle against the gum line. Move the brush back and forth sideways in short (half-a-tooth-wide) strokes several times, using a gentle scrubbing motion. Scrub the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush and make several up-and-down strokes with the front part of the brush. Brush gums and teeth.

Most dentists recommend using a tooth brush with soft, end-rounded or polished   bristles. This type of brush is less likely to injure the gums. The size and shape of the toothbrush should allow every tooth to be cleaned. Children   need brushes smaller than those made for adults. Brushes should be replaced often (usually every three or four months), as worn-out brushes do not clean the teeth well.

The following steps have been designed to help children become aware of all the surfaces of their teeth that must be cleaned each time they brush. Since some children will not understand some terms, such as inside, outside, top, bottom, etc., it is important for you to demonstrate and have the children imitate each of the following steps. You may want to conduct this activity as a "Follow the Leader" game with yourself as leader and the children following your directions for each step.

Begin lesson by having the children wash their hands. Say to children, "It is important for your hands to be clean because we are going to be putting them in our mouth to feel all the parts of our teeth."

A."First we're going to touch the outside of all of the top teeth." Have children imitate you as you place a finger on the farthest back tooth on one side of your mouth and slowly move your finger across to the other side of your mouth, touching the outside surface of each tooth as you move your finger across.

B."Now we are going to touch the inside of all the top teeth." Have children imitate you as you touch the inside of the top back tooth on one side of your mouth and slowly move your finger across the inside surfaces of all the top teeth, gently rubbing each tooth from one end of the mouth to the other end.

C. "Now we are going to touch the biting and chewing surfaces of all our top teeth." Have children imitate you as you touch the biting and chewing surfaces of all your top teeth.

D."Now let's feel the outside of all our bottom teeth." Have children imitate you as you place a finger on the farthest back tooth on one side of your mouth and slowly move your finger to the other side of your mouth, touching the outside surface of each tooth as you move your finger across.

E. "Now we are going to touch the inside of all the bottom teeth." Have children imitate you as you touch the inside surface of the bottom back tooth on one side of your mouth and slowly move your finger across the inside surfaces of all the bottom teeth, gently rubbing each tooth from one end of the mouth to the other end.

F. "Now we are going to touch the biting and chewing surfaces of all our bottom teeth." Have children imitate you as you touch the biting and chewing surfaces of all your bottom teeth.

Conclude this awareness activity by telling children that when they brush their teeth they should be sure to touch every side of every tooth with their toothbrush, just like they have touched every tooth with their finger.
 

Classroom Activities
Note: If sink and water facilities are available, you may use the following procedure. Distribute toothbrushes to each student. Have students form a line; put a dab, the size of a small pea, of fluoride toothpaste on each child's brush. Have children go to the place where they will be brushing. Instruct them to brush with toothpaste, using the same methods that they have practiced. After they have brushed, encourage them to thoroughly rinse their mouth with water and rinse their toothbrush so that there is no toothpaste left on the toothbrush.

Color Activity Pages, "How to Brush." If possible, mount these pictures on heavy paper or card board. You may want to cover the pictures with a clear plastic material to protect them. Display these pictures in the area where the children will be brushing to help remind them of the proper tooth- brushing method.

If toothpaste and/or water is not available, have the children brush using a dry toothbrush by itself. This is also an effective way to clean teeth. When children "dry brush," they can do so in small groups at their tables, or in small or large circles. If at all possible, toothbrushes should be thoroughly rinsed and dried after each use.

1. Tooth brushing Activity -Have students wash their hands. Distribute toothbrushes to each student. Explain that they now are going to use the toothbrush to clean their teeth and that the toothbrush should touch all the teeth that they have touched with their finger. (Toothpaste is not to be used for this practice brushing exercise.)

For the proper tooth brushing technique to be understood, it may be necessary to spend one or two days on the following tooth brushing instructions:

Tooth brushing Instructions for Head Start Classroom

(1) Introduction - Have students wiggle the brush bristles on one of their fingers. Explain that this is the same movement the brush will make on their teeth.

(2) Starting at the very farthest back tooth on the outside surface of the top teeth, gently wiggle the brush against each and every tooth, moving from the back to the center front top tooth.

(3) Move brush to top back tooth on the other side of the mouth and gently scrub by wiggling the brush against each and every tooth, moving from the back to the center front top tooth.

(4) Now start at the very farthest back tooth on the inside surface of the top teeth. Gently scrub by wiggling the brush against each and every tooth, moving from the inside of the back tooth to the center front top tooth.

(5) Move brush to the inside surface of the farthest back tooth on the other side of the mouth and brush every tooth from the back to the center front tooth.

(6) Place toe (top part) of brush against back part of top front teeth, and very gently brush up and down.

(7) After brushing the inside and out side surfaces of the top teeth, instruct children to brush the biting and chewing surfaces of their top teeth, starting with the farthest back tooth on one side, and brushing to the center front tooth. Then brush the chewing and biting surfaces of the top teeth on the other side of the mouth.

(8) Repeat the preceding 6 steps for the bottom teeth.

(9) Explain to children that they should follow this brushing method every time they brush.

 

Tips for Tooth brushing:
The following are general guidelines that can be helpful while you supervise your children as they brush their teeth:

A. Note whether the child is following the tooth brushing sequence.

B. As the children are brushing each day, be sure to emphasize all the areas of the mouth that should be cleaned. Say such things as "Be sure to clean all the outside surfaces of the teeth, all the inside surfaces of the teeth, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth, both 'top' and 'bottom.'" Try to use the following phrases to the children to reinforce their brushing habits and to develop positive self-concepts:

"You're doing a good job." "Your teeth look sparkling." "What a nice smile you have." "You're a very good brusher." "I like looking at your clean smile." "You should be proud of what a good job you've done cleaning your teeth." Etc.

C. Make sure children are using short, back-and-forth, gentle scrubbing actions.

D. The mouth should be partially open. Encourage children to open their mouths gently and not to "stretch" their jaws.

E. Discourage chewing on brushes or scrubbing too hard, as these practices wear out toothbrushes.

F. Watch for ineffective toothbrushes that are bent or frayed, and replace them. Worn-out toothbrushes cannot clean the teeth and may hurt the child's gums.

G. When children are brushing their teeth, be sure to brush with them so that they will have a good role model.

H. If possible, place a mirror near the place where the children will be brushing. Be sure the mirror is placed at the children's eye level so they can watch themselves.

I. Have each child thoroughly rinse his/her toothbrush and mouth, if possible.
 

Toothbrush Storage in the Head Start Classroom:

It is very important that each toothbrush be stored in such a way as to minimize the spread of germs. Even when toothbrushes are thoroughly rinsed, germs continue to live on a wet brush. For this reason, it is important that toothbrushes be stored so that they can air dry between brushings and so that moisture from one toothbrush does not drip onto another brush. Following are ways that toothbrushes can be stored safely in the Head Start classroom.

* Obtain a plastic cabinet with drawers, available in various sizes from hardware stores. Assign a drawer for each student's toothbrush. Using indelible ink, make a label for each drawer. It is important that air circulate between each drawer so that brushes can dry completely. Be sure drawers are not air tight. It is also important that drawers not contain holes, which would allow water from one toothbrush to drip on another.

 

* Have each child decorate a shoe box using a dental theme. The decorated shoe box can be kept in the student's desk or locker where his/her labeled toothbrush may be stored.

 

* It is not a good idea to store brushes in community jars, egg cartons, or by hanging them together from nails in the wall if these methods allow the brushes to drip on each other. Sealed containers that are air tight are also undesirable because they prevent air drying.

2. Music Activity -After practicing this method of tooth brushing, teach children the following song, "This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth," sung to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush." Have children motion as though they are holding a toothbrush, moving it from one side of the mouth toward the center. When the verse is repeated, have them also repeat the motion for the other side of the mouth. For the final verse, have children motion as though they are gently scrubbing the chewing surfaces of their teeth.

This is the way we brush our teeth,

Brush our teeth, brush our teeth,

This is the way we brush our teeth,

Move to the front.

(Repeat)

This is the way we brush our teeth,

Brush our teeth, brush our teeth,

This is the way we brush our teeth,

Clean the insides too.

(Repeat)

(Have children motion as though they are gently scrubbing the chewing surfaces.)

This is the way we brush our teeth, Brush our teeth, brush our teeth,

This is the way we brush our teeth, Scrub where we chew.

(Repeat)

After the children have learned this song, make a cassette recording of them singing it. Play the song as the children are brushing their teeth to serve as a reminder of the brushing pattern that should be followed. If you are unable to make a recording of the song, you may want to sing the song as the children are brushing.

3. Art Activity - Reinforce the concept of various colors by asking students to identify the color of his/her toothbrush. When new toothbrushes are distributed, discuss the color. Give each student an opportunity to name an object in the room that is the same color as their toothbrush.

4. Music Activity - Teach children the following song, "Are My Teeth Clean," sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping, Brother John?" Have them sing the first verse before they are ready to brush each day. The second verse may be sung after they have cleaned their teeth. The song may also be sung while the toothpaste is being dispensed. While singing verse one, children may also shake their head "no" when they are saying "No, They're Not; No, They're Not." And, when they are singing verse two, they may shake their head up and down for "yes" when they are saying "Yes, They Are; Yes, They Are."

Verse one:

Are my teeth clean?

Are my teeth clean?

No, they're not!

No, they're not!

Let's go off and brush them,

Let's go off and brush them,

Right away,

Right away.

(Repeat)

Verse two:

Are my teeth clean?

Are my teeth clean?

Yes, they are.

Yes, they are

We are good at brushing,

We are good at brushing,

See our smile,

See our smile.

(Repeat)

5. Art Activity - Distribute small paper plates or circles made from construction paper, giving one to each student. Provide materials so that students can make a happy face on a small paper plate or on a circle of construction paper. Provide materials such as paints or crayons, pieces of construction paper, glue, and yarn so that hair and parts of the face can be made and placed on the paper plates to make a happy face. When the puppet is completed, attach the face to a tongue depressor or some similar wooden stick so that each child will have a "Happy Face" stick puppet. The "Happy Face" stick puppet will be used in other lesson activities.

Have children hold up the "Happy Face stick puppets while they sing the second verse of "Are My Teeth Clean," after having cleaned their teeth.

6. Numbers Activity -Use the pattern found on Activity Page, "Tooth Pattern" to make ten toothbrushes for use on a flannel board. Have children count the toothbrushes as you place them one by one until there are ten on the flannel board. If children have not mastered counting from one to ten, postpone this activity.

 

Lesson Review,
Puppet Story:

Hi, everybody I know you have been learning a lot about tooth brushing. Have you all used your finger to touch each tooth in your mouth? Wow, you have lots of teeth Can someone tell me what teeth feel like? (Wet, warm, hard) Very good: Did some teeth feel big and bumpy? Did some teeth feel smooth and sharp? Did you also feel your gums? Who can tell me what your gums feel like? (Wet, warm, soft) Terrific Do you remember the last time we talked about cleaning our nice, shiny teeth? Every tooth needs special care to keep it clean and healthy. We said that we need to clean our teeth every day so that germs don't hurt our teeth.

We have to brush every side of every tooth. Can you point to your top teeth? I'm going to open my mouth wide. Who can point to my top teeth? Where are your bottom teeth? What do you use to brush your teeth? Good Can you tell me the color of your toothbrush? Toothbrushes help clean your teeth just like washcloths help clean your hands and face. Don't forget to rinse your mouth with lots of water when you have finished brushing. Next time we meet we'll talk about something very special for your teeth. See you then!
 

  Parent Letter:  "Tooth brushing"
 

Dear Head Start Parent:
 

As part of our lessons on dental health, your child has been taught why the teeth need to be cleaned every day. Now the children are learning how to clean the teeth. We have given your child a toothbrush to use in the classroom. You will want to make sure your child has a toothbrush to use at home, too. Here are some tips on brushing your child's teeth.

Children of Head Start age can begin to learn to brush their own teeth. An adult must help, however, to see that they brush well. Get your child a brush with a small child-size brush and soft, polished bristles. A hard-bristled brush can hurt your child's teeth and gums. When using toothpaste, be sure it contains fluoride. Only a dab, the size of a pea, is necessary. If you do not have toothpaste, encourage your child to use the toothbrush by itself. Replace the brush when the bristles look bent, usually every three or four months. A worn-out toothbrush cannot clean teeth and may hurt your child's gums.

There are a number of good ways of brushing the teeth. Here's the brushing method your child has learned in Head Start:
 

* Hold the brush against the gum line. Point the bristles toward the gums.

* Move the brush back and forth with short half-a-tooth-wide strokes, using a gentle scrubbing motion.

* Brush the outside surfaces of the teeth, the inside surfaces, then the chewing surfaces.

* To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush straight up. Make several up-and-down strokes with the front part of the brush.
 

In addition to brushing, be sure to use dental floss in order to remove plaque (an invisible layer of germs) from between the teeth. However, young children should not floss by themselves; have your dentist or dental hygienist show you how to floss your teeth and your child's teeth. By flossing your teeth you will be presenting a good example for your child to follow.

To encourage your child to brush his or her teeth, you can put up the chart we have provided showing the days of the week. Every day that the child brushes, draw or paste a brightly colored star on the chart. It is a good idea to brush your teeth along with your children. If your child cannot brush his or her own teeth, you may want to hold your child on your lap while helping brush his or her teeth.

When not in use, brushes should be left uncovered so that the air can dry them. When toothbrushes are put away, be sure that the brush heads are placed so that they do not touch or drip on each other. To prevent spreading germs, each family member should have his or her own brush. By helping your child develop good dental habits today, you help your child have good health tomorrow.

Sincerely,
 
 

Link to pertinent resource materials




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