Tooth Healthy Foods – 6 to 36 Months
Supplies and Preparation
- Pre-cut pictures of tooth healthy and tooth unhealthy foods from magazines and the internet
- Colored construction paper
- Glue or glue stick
- Contact paper (optional)
For Optional Activities:
- 4 apples (optional)
- “Four Little Apples High In a Tree” song lyrics
- “Eating the Alphabet” book by Lois Ehlert
- Plastic/play foods (for the Eat a Rainbow)
- Let’s Choose Tooth Healthy Foods!
- Tooth Healthy and Tooth Unhealthy Foods list
Starting the Conversation
- Tell me about what and when your child eats in a typical day.
- Some foods are considered tooth healthy and others are tooth unhealthy. Do you know what kinds of foods are tooth healthy and why? What kinds of foods are tooth unhealthy and why?
- Use the Tooth Healthy and Tooth Unhealthy Foods List on page 66 to show examples of tooth healthy foods and tooth unhealthy foods.
- Tooth healthy foods are good for your teeth; tooth unhealthy foods feed the germs in our mouths, causing acid attacks that weaken teeth and cause cavities.
- How often you eat is as important as what you eat. Snacking or “grazing” all day long causes constant acid attacks on teeth; constant acid attacks cause cavities.
Parent and Child Activity
1.Help the parent and child create a placemat with pictures of tooth healthy foods.
- Display tooth healthy and tooth unhealthy food pictures on the floor or the table.
- Ask the parent and child to select tooth healthy foods to glue onto the construction paper.
- If the child is able, have her glue the pictures onto the construction paper. If she’s too young, have the parent glue the pictures onto the construction paper or help the child.
- Show the parent how to use the placemat to help her child select what she’d like to eat by having the child point to her food choices.
- Tell the parent to use the placemat to help limit grazing and snacking all day.
- Show the parent and child how to put the placemat on the table when it’s meal or snack time along with food, and how to remove the placemat and food when meal or snack time is over.
- Develop a meal and snack schedule for the child to follow—for example, the child could eat three meals and two snacks a day.
Extending the Learning
A. Chant “Four Little Apples High In a Tree”
Once there were four little apples high in a tree.
(Child’s name) ate one apple and said: “Hey, look at me!”
Now there are three little apples high in a tree.
(Repeat child’s name) ate one apple and said: “I’m as strong as I can be!”
Now there are two little apples high in a tree.
(Repeat child’s name) ate one apple and said: “Healthy, I’m going to be!”
Now there is one little apple high in a tree.
(Repeat child’s name) ate one apple and said: “This is good for me, you see!”
Now there are no more apples up in the tree, no more healthy apples for me!
B. Read the book “Eating the Alphabet”
C. Tooth Healthy Foods Treasure Hunt
Hide pictures of tooth healthy foods under the table, behind the chair etc. and have child find them.
D. Eat a Rainbow
Using a variety of plastic/play foods, encourage parent and child to play together serving a “rainbow” of colorful healthy foods on each plate.
- What are some ways you could introduce more tooth healthy foods at snacks and mealtimes?
- What might get in the way?