By contributing writer Tabitha
The best way to learn is by doing. Our family is learning dental health by doing. Sure, we find books at the library about dentists and what a dentist visit is like. Sure, we watch children’s shows on the topic when they are on TV. For the most part, though, our entire education on dental health comes from participating in good dental habits.
Basic Dental Health
For example, when our 8th child, now age 4, was still very young, she was fascinated by all her older siblings brushing their teeth. She would find floss and try to imitate everyone else. She’d hear us talking about making dentist appointments and wonder what was going on. She’d see old dental x-rays (from a brother with a lot of interesting teeth) and think it was so cool.
She’s seen older brothers lose teeth and was told many times why this happened. She also saw a tooth that had to be removed by a dentist due to cavities, and what happens if we don’t take care of our teeth.
In December she had her first dentist visit. She wasn’t able to do x-rays but she was able to tell the dental hygienist all about brushing her teeth and trying to floss. She was excited to get her teeth counted and looked at by the dentist. She liked her teeth being ‘tickled’ (cleaned), and her favorite part was getting a new toothbrush and toothpaste and then picking a prize, all of which she’d heard about from older siblings who had done this many times before.
All of these things were ways to help her learn something new. She didn’t need a curriculum. She didn’t need a special class. She learned from real life. This is something great about homeschooling, to me, in that we can just live our lives and the pieces sometimes just fall into place.
Advanced Dental Health
My oldest two sons are Boy Scouts (and I have more coming up through the ranks). They had the opportunity to learn more in depth about dentistry by working on a Dentistry Merit Badge. The merit badge involves learning about careers but also what tools are used in dentistry and why, including things like building a model and then using it to teach the proper way to floss. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn by doing.
Enjoy how your family learns best. There are so many ways to learn. Use opportunities like dental visits and merit badges to help your whole family get involved with things like Dental Health month, which is good for everyone. Good luck!