At TeethFirst, we have a vision of a Cavity Free Future and we are working very hard at turning this vision into reality. Since our last post, we didn’t sit on our laurels. We have been busy creating a curriculum for oral health knowledge integration in Kindergarten. Not just any kind of curriculum but one that links teeth, oral health and oral hygiene to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Art too. Plus, this curriculum correlates to the Common Core State Standards.
We are on a Mission
We believe that empowering children with oral health knowledge and oral hygiene practices will equip them with exactly what they need to achieve a Cavity Free Future, like teaching a man to fish will feed that man for a lifetime.
At age 5, children have all of their baby teeth but no adult teeth yet. At this age, children have acquired sufficient dexterity to hold a tooth brush properly and to learn how to use it effectively, like they learn to write their name with a pencil. Our goal is to help Kindergartners become proficient at flossing and brushing before the eruption of their first permanent teeth.
What do they learn?
In the course of the academic year, they will learn to floss and brush correctly and for the appropriate amount of time. But perhaps more importantly, they will grasp why it is so important to do so.They learn healthy versus unhealthy habits for oral hygiene as well as snack and food choices. They will learn to name teeth and their function. As children assimilate the connection of form to function, they will also understand the importance of preserving all teeth. Just one month after launch, the children already know what a quadrant is.
How is this done?
Every day, after lunch recess, the children floss and brush their teeth by quadrant. They do so under the timed supervision of their teachers. Every Friday, STEM activities, challenge the children with experiential learning. These exercises relate teeth, bacteria, form and function to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and arts.
Where is this done?
This happens every school day in the classroom with Oh’Pal, a waterless disposable flossing toothbrush: no water, rinsing or spitting necessary.
What does it take?
With Oh’Pal, only 5 minutes per day after lunch. As for the STEM period, all it takes is for the teacher to choose oral health as a theme. We designed all STEM activities to set the tone for the following week. The curriculum we designed provides a full description of exercises and experiments with photos and links to resources.