Dentists, by Cecila Minden

 This book answers the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of being a Dentist.  This is a good book to use for further study of Dentists.


  •  Vinegar
  •  Baking soda
  •  Small bowls
  •  Old toothbrushes
  •  3-4 dirty pennies per child
  •  Camera
  •  Pictures of foods cut from magazines, off the Internet, or from                                                  a nutrition set


  •  Pediatric (a doctor whose patients are only children)
  •  Cavity (a hole that occurs in your tooth from decay and not                                   brushing)
  • Explorer (the pick like tool that dentists use)
  • Operatory (the special room that you see the dentist in that has his tools)

Before Reading the Story

 Begin a discussion about the many different kinds of jobs that are in your area.  Ask the children what they think they would like to be.  If no one says they want tobe a dentist, ask them if they ever thought that a Dentist would be a good job to have. Ask the children if they know what a dentist does?  Have they ever been to the Dentist?  Let them talk for a moment about their experiences with the dentist.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Community; develops growing awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.

Reading the Story

This book has a lot of information that might be too much for preschool-aged children.  Use this to do a picture walk and touch upon highlights on each page. When the book talks about the education needed to be a dentist, make sure to tell the children that they have to continue to work hard at school and let them know that you are proud of them. 

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; shows growing interest and involvement  in listening to and discussing a variety of fiction non-fiction and poetry.

After Reading the Story

Go back through the pages with the children asking who, what, where, when, and why questions and see which children are able to answer.  

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in a bilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.  AND Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting.


Pour a small amount of baking soda and vinegar into several bowls to make a paste like consistency.  Have the children drop 3-4 dirty pennies into the baking soda and vinegar mixture. Show them how to use the toothbrush to scrub the penny.  The combination of baking soda and vinegar will begin to clean the penny.  Talk about how the mixture is like your toothpaste and the penny is like your teeth.  Make the pennies shine. 

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.  AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.

Music and Movement

Sing The Toothbrush Song to the tune of Mulberry Street.

We use our toothbrush to clean our teeth, clean our teeth, clean our teeth.

We use our toothbrush to clean our teeth after we eat.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.

Have the children sit in a circle and put on some lively music.  The children can pass a toothbrush around the circle and when the music stops, the child holding the toothbrush must name something that you use your teeth for.  Expect children to repeat answers, which is o.k. because they are understanding that teeth are important.  If the children cannot think of something that they use their teeth for you can pantomime eating, chewing, talking, smiling, and biting. 

Social & Emotional Development/ Self-Control; develops growing understanding of how their actions affect others and begins to accept the consequences of their actions.  AND Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; develops increasing abilities to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, opinions, needs, questions; and for varied other purposes.


Show the children how to form cubes with play dough by squeezing a ball on the sides and top.  Encourage the children to make a row of play dough cubes and gently stick them together.  Give the children Popsicle sticks or toothpicks and tell them to pretend that these are the “explorer” that the dentist uses.  Poke between the teeth, on top of the teeth, underneath the teeth. 

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.  AND Mathematics/Geometry & Spatial Sense; builds an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front, behind.

Library and Writing

Remind the children that Dentists have to be good readers and writers.  On index cards write the word Dentist and tooth.  Encourage the children to copy the words onto a piece of paper.  

Literacy/Early Writing; progresses from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their own name.

Make a book titled, “Whose Teeth?”  Take two pictures of the child.  One will be a picture of the child’s face as he/she is smiling.  The other will be just of the child’s smile so that you can see minimal amount of the face. On the front page put the picture of the smile only and write, “Whose smile?”  On the back of the page put the picture of the child’s smiling face.  Ask the children to tell you something that makes them smile and write it under their picture.  (I smile when my Mom makes me pizza!  I smile when my Grandpa comes to my house). 

Social & Emotional Development; Self-Concept; begins to develop awareness of self in terms of specific  abilities, characteristics, and preferences.


Challenge the children to use the blocks to make a letter T for tooth and a letter D for Dentist. Encourage them to try to make letters in their own names.  

Literacy/Alphabet Knowledge; shows progress of associating the names of letters with their shapes and sound.

Dramatic Play

Give the children some of the materials that you use at large group time (dry erase board, flannel board, an attendance sheet, etc.) and let the children play school. 

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; develops awareness of jobs and what is required to perform them.  AND Creative Arts/ Dramatic PLay; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Math and Manipulatives

On a piece of paper draw a tooth and give it a happy face.  On another piece of paper draw a tooth and give it a sad face.  Let the children use the pictures of food that you have brought and sort them by food that is good for your teeth on the happy tooth and food that is not good for your teeth on the sad tooth. 

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows growth in matching, sorting, putting in a series, and regrouping objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size. AND Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; builds awareness and ability to follow  basic health and safety rules such as fire safety, traffic and pedestrian safety, and responding appropriately  to potentially harmful objects, substances, and activities.


 Look for small rocks on the playground that look kind of like teeth.  Collect them in a bucket.  At the end of your outdoor time, help the children to count the number of ‘teeth’ that you have collected. 

Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use one-to-one correspondence in counting objects and matching groups of objects.


As children leave to go to the next center, ask them if they think they might like to be a dentist, make a graph of yes and no. 

Literacy/Early Writing; develops understanding that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes.  AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to use language to compare numbers of objects with terms such as more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to.

As the children go to brush their teeth today say the following poem from the Colgate web site.

(Kerry’s)/_______ off the brush his/her teeth

The front, the sides, the back

He’ll/she’ll clean away and move away

The yucky, yucky plaque.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understand conversations, stories, songs, and poems.

Dear Parent-

            Today we learned about what it takes to become a Dentist.  Ask your child if they think they would like to become a Dentist.  If they say yes, ask them why.  If the say no, ask them if they know what they would like to become.

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.