Goal: Children and families will understand that water helps to keep teeth healthy, and will drink water at school and at home.
Big Bites: Things You Should Know
Water is the best drink to keep your teeth and body healthy.
Water may contain fluoride, a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities.
Drinking juice or soda throughout the day causes repeated acid attacks. Repeated acid attacks cause cavities.
Juice and soda pop have a lot of sugar in them and no nutritional value. Replace them with water!
When baby breastfeeds or sleeps with a bottle of milk, the sugars stay on the teeth while the baby sleeps. This gives the germs time to attack and weaken the teeth and make cavities. If a baby goes to bed with a bottle, fill it only with water.
Encourage children to drink water for thirst in between meals and at snack time. This will help prevent cavities.
Have dispenser for water for the children to drink throughout the day or a water bottle for each child with their name on it.
Make a poster with pictures of every child in your class drinking water and put it next to your water dispenser or where you keep your water bottles. Label the poster with the key message that “Water Keeps Our Teeth and Bodies Healthy.”
When water play is available, review the reasons that children will not want to drink from the water table and post a picture of a child about to drink the water with a red circle or slash through the picture.
Make a chart to track the water everyone drinks in one day. See if the class can drink as much as an elephant. (See the Circle Time Lesson “Drink Like an Elephant” on page 38.)
Put a child-sized pitcher in dramatic play so that children can pretend to serve water in their “kitchen” or “restaurant.”
At Meals and Snacks
Offer water in addition to other beverages, like milk, that may be required by your program. Follow your program guidelines when only milk can be offered at a specific meal.
Give each child a straw and encourage them to “Drink Like an Elephant.” (See the Circle Time Lesson “Drink Like an Elephant” on page 38.)
Ask children to name everything they can think of that needs water. Keep a list of their answers.
While Brushing Teeth
Encourage children to pretend their teeth are elephant tusks and they need to clean them.
Add a song to sing while brushing about how water can help our teeth. “Have you ever had some water, some water, some water, have you ever had some water with fluoride for your teeth?” (To the tune of “Have You Ever Seen a Lassie.”)
Ask each child: “What animals do you think drink the most water? What animals drink the least water?”Write down the children’s ideas and look up the answers together. As their knowledge grows, ask them to also tell you why they think that.