(Gift Suggestions to Brighten Holiday Smiles)
In 1944, music teacher Donald Yetter Gardner asked his second-grade class what they wanted for Christmas. Each child answered with a pronounced lisp due to one or more missing front teeth, and after 30 minutes of musical composition, a holiday classic was born
The song comically pokes fun at the things a kid can’t say or do correctly until their new teeth come in. By the time kids reach seven years old, most if not all understand the importance of a healthy and complete smile. They also possess the basic skills needed to keep their teeth clean and trouble free. Additionally, they have most likely become comfortable with visiting their family dentist for regular check-ups.
For children ages 2 – 7, parents can introduce the concepts of dental health and the role that healthy teeth play in a child’s life, using a wide variety of age-appropriate books, toys, games and crafts that make great stocking stuffers for the holiday season.
Older parents may remember these two great books for kids who are now in their 20s or 30s: The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss, and The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain. There are probably many newer books that are also fun, relatable and keep young kids engaged.
One of the best ways to teach children in a non-threatening way is through playtime. Play-Doh still makes its “Dr. Drill ’n Fill” playset for young children. Even though the name may seem a little intimidating to adults, kids LOVE it, and it provides many hours of parent/child play as well as sibling interaction.
These days, there are many good games available that deserve your consideration. Games are excellent learning tools because they encourage imagination and socialization in young children. They’re also an important part of quality family time.
While not technically a gift idea, crafts and role playing are two more excellent ways to engage young kids during their school’s holiday break. Search the internet and you’ll find liter- ally dozens of great dental-related craft ideas.
Use your imagination, have fun with your kids, and have a very happy Holiday Season.
P.S.: Watch Melissa Lynn sing “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth”, on the Al Alberts Show (circa 1987). It’s guaranteed to make you smile.