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Smiling Pictures

Give each child a 6- by 4-inch pair of smiling lips cut out of red construction paper and an 8- by 1/2-inch strip of white paper. Have the children snip off little pieces of their white paper strips to make "teeth". Then let them glue their paper teeth on their paper lips to make big toothy smiles.

Toothbrush Painting

Cut a large tooth shape out of white construction paper for each child. Have the children dip old toothbrushes into white tempera paint "toothpaste" and then use them to "brush" their paper teeth. Show the children how to brush up and down, back and forth, and in a circular motion.

Hint: This is excellent practice for the real thing, but be sure to stress that the brushes and the pretend toothpaste should not be put into real mouths.

Toothy Puppets

Have each child draw a face on the top part of a folded paper plate. Then give the children bits of Styrofoam to glue inside their plates for "teeth". To work their puppets, have the children hold them with both hands. Then let them open and close their puppets' tooth-filled mouths to make them "talk".

Caution: Use this activity with older children who will not be tempted to put the pretend teeth into their own mouths. Styrofoam bits contain chemicals that may be toxic if swallowed.

Tile Teeth

Fill several small containers with foods that will stain or stick to teeth, such as kechup, grape juice, and syrup. Place the containers on a table along with Q-Tips, small white ceramic tiles, old toothbrushes, toothpaste, and two or three glasses of water. Let the children use the Q-Tips to spread small amounts of the foods on the ceramic tile "teeth". After the foods have dried, let the children remove them from their tiles by using the toothbrushes and toothpaste. Encourage the children to brush with up and down strokes and in circles. Have them dip their brushes in water as necessary. Explain that just as brushing the tiles gets the food off the tiles, brushing their teeth after every meal cleans the food off their teeth and keeps them healthy.

Happy Tooth, Sad Tooth

Cut pictures of high-sugar foods and healthy low-sugar foods out of old magazines. Cover them with clear self-stick paper for durability, if desired. Make two boxes for sorting the pictures, one with a happy tooth shape on it and one with a sad tooth shape on it. Show the boxes to the children. Talk about why certain kinds of foods would make teeth "happy" or "sad". Then let the children sort the pictures into the boxes, putting the pictures of low-sugar foods in the happy tooth box and the high-sugar foods in the sad tooth box.

I Brush My Teeth

Sung to : "Jingle Bells"

I brush my teeth, I brush my teeth,

Morning, noon, and night.

I brush them, floss them, rinse them clean,

I keep them nice and white.

I brush them once, I brush them twice,

I brush them till they shine.

I always brush them up and down,

Those precious teeth of mine.

I eat good foods, I eat good foods,

I give my teeth a treat.

I always eat fruits, breads, and milk,

Vegetables and meat.

If I eat sweets, if I eat sweets,

I brush right away

To keep my teeth shiny bright,

And free from tooth decay.

Little Tommy Toothbrush

Sung to : "Eensy, Weensy Spider"

Little Tommy Toothbrush

Had a big job to do.

He spread himself with toothpaste

And jumped up on a tooth.

He scrubbed and scrubbed the germs away

To prevent tooth decay.

Then Little Tommy Toothbrush

Jumped down and said, "Hooray!"

Apple Rounds

Ask the children why they think that apples are said to be "nature's toothbrushes". Then let them help you prepare this apple snack. Core several apples. Fill each one with soft cheese or peanut butter. Slice the apples into rounds and serve.

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Visitors since July 4, 1998