In support of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we urge parents and educators to spend time in February teaching children about the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums. It is important for children to understand at an early age that a healthy body begins with a healthy mouth--both what you eat and how you care for your mouth.
Here’s a fun experiment that can be conducted in the classroom or the home! Ask the children what drinks they think could hurt their teeth and what drinks may be better. Explain that they are going to do an experiment to find out what might happen to teeth if they are not brushed after drinking certain drinks. Boil a few eggs and then soak each egg overnight in a different liquid. Keep one aside. Examples are Coca-Cola and other colored sodas, fruit punch, orange juice, milk, coffee, and tea. The next day, show the children the stained eggs with the egg that you kept aside for side-by-side comparison. Talk to them about good dental hygiene practices and how important it is to brush twice every day, especially before bed. Point out that if left unbrushed overnight, teeth can stain just like the egg shells. Then give each child a toothbrush with a little toothpaste on it. Hand out the eggs and let the children get to work egg brushing. They can compare how much time is needed to brush off the different types of stain. Keep track of how much time they spend brushing each egg. This will allow the children to see how long it takes to remove the stains. Also, compare the stained eggs with the egg that was not stained to see how much of the stain they were able to remove. Refer back to the experiment the next time the children are ready to brush their teeth. Help them understand that it takes more than a quick couple movements to brush teeth, just like removing the stains from the eggs.