Tips to Teach Oral Health to Kids

Tips to Teach Oral Health to Kids

This month was a bad month in the teeth department for my family. My husband is going to need a new crown and a filling replacement due to wear and tear — he’ll be fifty soon too! My son needed a baby tooth pulled last week to make room for a permanent tooth trying to come in with nowhere to go.

Tips to Teach Oral Health to Kids

PickyKidPix just got metal bottom braces added to her top ones, and needed three emergency pit stops at her orthodontist due to the wire coming loose (because she ate various foods that were slightly too hard). Her new braces means it now takes her twenty minutes to brush and floss her teeth at night.

Grasshopper and Sensei has Invisalign braces, but her most recent dental appointment wasn’t a good one. She’s going to have to brush and floss several times a day to prevent more cavities.

And here I thought we were doing so well because the check ups had been going smoothly!

Tips to Teach Oral Health to Kids

I always think my kids’ poor teeth is my fault because I passed on my genetics, but since cavities are caused by many different aspects at play, the best I can do is visit the dentist, practice good dental health habits every day and them them to my children.

My own experience shows that it’s never too late to improve your oral health, but, like learning a foreign language, teaching oral health is best done as young as possible! Scholastic and the Advertising Council have partnered to create great lesson plans and activities that teach oral health through science, math, and poetry to establish strong oral health habits at home that I wanted to share with you today!

Teach Oral Health to Kids: Kids’ Healthy Mouths

Goal: Start teaching kids as early as possible beginning in preschool, if possible. Here are some great resources from Scholastic and Kids’ Healthy Mouths to help!

  • The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends that you help or watch over your kids’ brushing until they’re 8
  • Brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day can avoid cavities, dental problems, and help to have overall healthier teeth.


Scholastic Healthy Teeth, a resource for parents (also in Spanish)

Tooth Brushing Chart, a free printable for parents (also in Spanish)

Hands On Experiments for Kids

Activities for Kids to Encourage 2 Minutes of Teeth Brushing

Teachers: Teach Oral Health with These Free Printables

Toothsavers App: a free finger-swiping game, where kids learn the proper way to brush their teeth while saving a cursed kingdom from a cavity-creating sorceress.

Toothsavers App

Teeth Books for Kids

First Visit to the Dentist Books for Kids

Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth: A Maisy First Experience Book by Lucy Cousins

We love Maisy books and this is the perfect one for your toddler’s first visit to the dentist. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

I really like experiential books to allay fears and The Berenstain bears do this so well. This is an entertaining story for preschoolers of a cheerful and informative visit to a dentist.

Sister Bear watches Dr. Bearson fill Brother Bear’s small cavity. Then it’s her turn in the chair to have a dangling baby tooth removed. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Learning About Missing Teeth Books for Kids

My Tooth is About to Fall Out by Grace Maccarrone, illustrated by Betsy Lewin

An easy reader about a young girl who’s about to lose her first tooth. [easy reader, ages 4 and up]

The Magic School Bus and The Missing Tooth by Jeanette Lane, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken

Wanda finds a tooth in the back of Ms. Frizzle’s classroom. It is small and very sharp. It doesn’t look like a human tooth. Who lost it? The Friz thinks a field trip is in order to explore what teeth do and why they have different shapes. [non-fiction picture book, ages 4 and up]

Two Multicultural Tooth Fairy Picture Books!

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Perez by Rene Colato Lainez, illustrated by Tom Lintern

The Tooth Fairy has some competition. Meet El Ratón Pérez, the charming and adventurous mouse who collects children’s teeth in Spain and Latin America.

When both the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez arrive to claim Miguelito’s tooth, sparks fly under the Mexican-American boy’s pillow. Who will rightfully claim his tooth?

This magical tale introduces a legendary Latino character to a new audience and provides a fresh take on the familiar childhood experience of losing one’s tooth. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

The Tooth Mouse by Susan Hood, illustrated by Janice Nadeau

This finely rendered fable introduces readers to the Tooth Mouse, France’s version of the tooth fairy, and to Sophie, a sweet young mouse who must prove she is brave, honest and wise enough to take over this important job. [picture book, ages 3 and up]

I hope these ideas and tips will help get your kids flossing and brushing their teeth the requisite two minutes a day! I know I’ll be looking for ways to stay on top of my kids’ teeth brushing habits! It’s a habit that is well worth forming!

For more information on Kids’ Healthy Mouths, please check out their websiteTwitter and Facebook.

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Tips to Teach Oral Health to Kids

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. This is an awesome list of resources. I wish I had had such a great list when my girls were little. One of the best things I ever did was “play dentist” with the girls when they were small. They thought it was so funny. I would pretend to be meeting them for the first time and asking questions about their teeth and compliment them on being really good patients. When we finally DID go into the dentist for the first time, my girls were super excited and it was a great experience all around.
    Ali Collins recently posted…Black History Month Series: #3 Alfre Woodard Gives Life to Sojourner TruthMy Profile

  2. These are great resources. My kids will keep the toothbrush in their mouths for two minutes, but sometimes I feel like they are brushing their tongue instead of their teeth!
    maryanne recently posted…Burlap Valentines + Free PrintableMy Profile

  3. Hi Mia, I love inspiration like this story. And of course I agree with Ali and Maryann who suggested that this list of teaching books is excellent. One thing I can add to make brushing a little more fun and less tedious is for the mother or father brush for one minute and the children brush for one minute. You can even create a game of play competition of who can brush better. As the parent is doing their one minute they can teach little techniques for brushing and even bond while talking about their day or some future activity. Then when the child is doing their one minute the parent can watch and gently teach better ways of brushing, like how and why they should brush the back side of the front teeth, for example. Thank you for such a good article.
    dentists in Whittier recently posted…What Can I Do About My Missing Teeth?My Profile

  4. Instilling a habit works best when you start young. Kids are more likely to absorb the information and carry these over to adulthood — and this especially applies to oral care. Parents should be patient enough to ensure that routines are followed so that eventually, these good habits run themselves.

  5. I agree that it is important to teach your children about oral health early. After all, your oral health affects your overall health. I’ll be sure to check out these resources you provided for teaching kids good oral hygiene.

  6. I remember reading Berenstain Bear books when I was younger. They were a lot of fun if I remember correctly. Also, I think I remember the Magic School Bus having a dental episode for the TV as well.

    • Hi Phillius,
      My kids like Berenstain Bears books a lot! And they still need to be reminded about good oral heath habits even at 15, 13 and 10! We just visited the dentist last week and which of my kids did the best job brushing aways seems to switch around. Last time it was my eldest who was the worst, this time she’s the best! She was very proud of that.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Very Short Science Videos for KidsMy Profile

  7. Teaching kids about good oral care when they’re young is a great idea. Good habits are easier to acquire when young, so teaching is key. I want my future children to to brush twice a day. I hope they will always practice flossing too, it’s important.

  8. I love the idea of teaching oral health to your kids through picture books. I remember my mom would do this, and she would read The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. I think that this book not only got me reading, but it helped me see that going to the dentist is necessary and can even be fun. Thanks for sharing all of the other different option of books to read to your children, I will definitely use these to help teach my kids!

  9. I really enjoy teaching my kids on how to do their dental care. Brushing their teeth, flossing. And I love to go with them for a dental appointment. I want to show them that they have me in every step. They have nothing to be afraid of.

  10. As a mom, I’ve found the biggest reason for my children not liking or doing something is because I didn’t start them on it early enough. As it says above, the best way to teach your children about oral health is to start teaching them about it early. If they grow up brushing their teeth and going to the dentists often, then they are less likely to put off brushing or be scared of the dentist or orthodontist.

  11. Correy Smith

    Mia, it seems like teaching kids about dental health sure sounds like a good idea to do. I know that my wife does her best in teaching our kid to relax when going to the dentist office. Usually the general dentist is the person that he is somewhat timid about since seeing how the dentist used a big drill on another kid’s teeth. I told him that it if he’s nice to the dentist and brushes his teeth every day than he wouldn’t need that.

  12. The interesting thing about kids is that they want to emulate their parents. Most likely, if they see you brushing and flossing your teeth, they’ll want to be just like mommy and daddy. If I had responsibility towards another person, I would want to help them as much as I can.

  13. Thanks for your fantastic resources on how to teach children about oral hygiene. Both of my sisters have had twins and it can make the bedtime routine a bit of a struggle. I’ll have to look into those books and see if they already own them or not.

    • Hi Jonathan,
      My kids who get cavities are now wishing that they did a better job brushing when they were younger. Still, it’s never too late to improve oral hygiene habits! I’m starting to brush multiple times a day and it’s helping me.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…DIY Gamer Kit STEM ToyMy Profile

  14. Making oral hygiene a habit is a good place to start. When it is “normal” to brush and floss every night, they are more likely to stick to the routine. Thanks for the advice!

  15. Thank you fo rhte tip on watching your kid’s brushing until they are 8. I have a 7-year-old and wasn’t sure if I still needed to monitor him. He’s up for a general check-up at the dentist soon, so hopefully I’ve been monitoring him enough to avoid any cavities!

  16. Thank you for the tip on watching your kid’s brushing until they are 8. I have a 7-year-old and wasn’t sure if I still needed to monitor him. He’s up for a general check-up at the dentist soon, so hopefully I’ve been monitoring him enough to avoid any cavities!

  17. I think when your kids are brushing teeth, you have to check it whether they are perfectly brush or not. Parents should teach this to kids as early possible. For this, they will remember that it is the time for brushing.

  18. I think making the dentist a fun occurrence for kids is key to their success in good hygiene habits. I love the idea to use picture books to help acclimate them to the idea of going to the dentist and having their teeth worked on. I will definitely have to add one of these to our family library as soon as possible.

  19. I like your statement that, while it’s never too late to start improving your oral health, it’s best to start young. The earlier your children learn to take care of their teeth, the healthier they will be. Plus, they’ll have good habits from the get-go, so you won’t have to correct bad habits later. Thanks for the article!

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