As a parent, you have a huge responsibility in preparing your kids for the world. There are so many lessons to teach, and every moment seems to present another opportunity for a successful or failed parenting moment. That’s why we are glad we’ve had the chance to come alongside you. We want to empower you with useful tools to help educate your children so they can manage their oral health for the rest of their life. For our final blog in our Kids Oral Health series, we’re going to tie everything together by building a model of your kid’s mouth and let them practice proper oral hygiene. We’ll also cover the basic names of the teeth in your mouth and what they are generally designed to do.
Roles of Teeth
Children have 3 main types of teeth; Molars, Incisors, and Canine teeth. Your teeth are arranged in your mouth to help you chew different types of food.
Molars are in the back of your mouth and have multiple roots securing them in your gums. They are larger, have a bumpy but relatively flat (not sharp) chewing surface. Molars are best for grinding down plant-based foods. Their broad surface provides a large area to chew, crush, and grind food.
Canine teeth are the sharpest teeth in your mouth. You can find them by drawing a line down the middle of your face and counting the third tooth from the center in any direction on top or bottom. Canines are useful for ripping and tearing food apart, especially meat.
Incisor teeth are the shovel-shaped teeth at the front of your mouth. They have a very narrow tip and slowly get wider towards the gumline. Incisors also only have one root, unlike the larger molars. They are best for biting or cutting your food into manageable bites.
Check out this great resource to learn more about the types of teeth in your mouth, as well as try an interactive puzzle where you can build a human child’s mouth.
Build a Model
What You’ll Need:
- red construction paper
- pink construction paper
- 20-25 marshmallows per kid (dried for 1 week) OR 20-25 egg carton bottoms, cut apart
- liquid glue
- a spare (or old) toothbrush
It’s best to prep the marshmallows in advance so they are hard and dry before you try to glue them on. We recommend letting them sit on a plate for about a week before trying to build this model. Alternatively, if you are short on time, you can also cut off the bottoms of an egg carton and make a much bigger mouth model.
The first step:
Cut the pink paper into the shape of a mouth as though it were flipped open. This shape ends up being like a rectangle with a semicircle attached to each short side. To decide how big your mouth should be, take your “teeth” and lay out ten in a semi-circle with just enough space so they are barely touching. Cut out a tongue from the red paper, making sure it is slim enough to leave room for the teeth.
The second step:
Glue marshmallows onto the mouth. You’ll need 10 marshmallow teeth for the top and 10 for the bottom. Try to arrange larger marshmallows towards the back of the mouth. As you glue, leave a tiny bit of space between the marshmallow teeth. If you can, let the marshmallows dry in place for an hour or longer.
The third step:
Make up a silly story about what the mouth is eating, adding bits of playdough to the surfaces of the teeth and between the teeth as you go. After, let your child use a spare toothbrush to clean off the “plaque” and food particles. Additionally, offer dental floss or flosser pics for them to reach bits that are stuck between teeth.
We have enjoyed coming alongside you as you teach your children about their mouths and oral hygiene. Hopefully, you learned a few things along the way too! We love to be your partner in dental education and empower you to care for your own teeth well. What did you learn? What activity did your children enjoy the most? Let us know in the comments!