Maine Oral Health Program

Primary Smiles: A Bibliography of Children's Books on Oral Health

Tooth Traditions

Explore these titles to find out what other children around the world do with their missing teeth.

  • Beeler, Shelby B. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from around the World.
    Illus. by G. Brian Karas. 1998. 32 p. Houghton. Hard (0-395-89108-6); Paper (0-618-15238-5).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; Clever illustrations; 1 or 2 line explanations. The reader is taken on a trip around the world to learn various customs linked to the loss of primary teeth.
  • Brill, Marlene Targ. Tooth Tales from Around the World.
    Illus. by Katya Krenina. 1998. 32p. Charlesbridge. (0-88106-398-3).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; This book looks at the ways different cultures view losing teeth while taking a historical journey through tooth history and traditions.

Missing Tooth Mysteries

Books that deal with elusive lost teeth that are misplaced before the tooth fairy pays a visit.

  • Birdseye, Tom. Airmail to the Moon.
    Illus. by Stephen Grammel. 1998. Holiday. 32p. Hard (0-8234-0683-0); Paper (0-8234-0754-3).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; Folksy language and colorful illustrations that tells the story of search for a lost tooth that disappears.
  • MacDonald, Amy. Cousin Ruth's Tooth.
    Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. 1996. 32p. Houghton; (0-395-71253-X).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; A riotous rhyming story centered around a families search for Cousin Ruth's missing tooth.

The Tooth Fairy

Stories that celebrate or explain the tradition of the tooth fairy, often in humorous ways.

  • Alper, Ann Fitzpatrick. Harry McNairy, Tooth Fairy.
    Illus. by Bridget Starr Taylor. 1998. 32p. Albert Whitman; (0-8075-3166-9).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; A story of Harry McNairy, a tooth fairy that is very surprised when one boy refuses to trade in his tooth for money.
  • Christiana, David. A Tooth Fairy's Tale. 1994. 32p. Farrar; (0-374-37677-8); Sunburst, Paper (0-590-26598-9).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; Ethereal illustrations round out this fantastical tale describing the tooth fairy's rescue of her mother from a giant with the help of her father the sandman.
  • Holtzman, Caren. A Quarter from the Tooth Fairy. Illus. by Betsy Day. 1995. 32p. Scholastic, (0-590-26598-9).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; This book may be used to help teach math. A story of a young boy who has a great deal of difficulty trying to decide how to spend his quarter from the tooth fairy.
  • Jay, Betsy. Jane vs. the Tooth Fairy.
    Illus. by Lori Osiecki. 2000. 32p. Rising Moon, (0-87358-769-3).
    Preschool - Gr.3; A story of comic efforts by Jane, a child who decides she doesn't like the idea of the tooth fairy taking her tooth away.
  • Kaye, Marilyn. The Real Tooth Fairy.
    Illus. by Helen Cogancherry. 1990. 32p. Harcourt, Hard (0-15-265780-0); Paper (0-15-200120-4).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; The true magic of the tooth fairy is discovered as a young girl sees her mother instead of the tooth fairy and becomes confused.
  • Luppens, Michel. What do the Tooth Fairies Do with All Those Teeth?
    Illus. by Philippe Beha. 1996. 24p. Firefly, Hard (1-55209-001-9); Paper (1-55209-22-002-7).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; Numerous and imaginative responses to the question of what happens to teeth after the tooth fairy takes them.
  • Olson, Mary W. Nice Try, Tooth Fairy.
    Illus. by Katherine Tillotson. 2000.32p. Simon & Schuster, (0-689-824422-X).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; A young girls request to the tooth fairy to have her tooth returned so that she may show it to her grandpa results in a humorous letter writing and tooth exchange.
  • Paxton, Tom. The Story of the Tooth Fairy.
    Illus. by Robert Sauber. 1996. 32p. HarperCollins, Hard (0-688-12987-0); Paper (0-688-17523-6).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; A young fairy tries to convince a mortal that she is indeed a fairy. The two exchange gifts - a tooth for a coin - renewing a friendship between mortals and fairies.
  • Sachs, Marilyn. JoJo and Winnie Again: More Sister Stories.
    Illus. by Mededith Johnson. 2000. 80p. Dutton, (0-525-46393-3).
    Gr. 2 - Gr. 4; Sibling rivalry, competition and mutual support are included in this episode about the tooth fairy.
  • Wilhelm, Hans. I Lost My Tooth. 1999. 32p. Scholastic, (0-590-64230-8).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; A puppy loses his tooth after it falls out but manages to discover a way to get treats from the tooth fairy anyway.

Loose Tooth Tales

Losing that first tooth can be a traumatic experience. These books feature characters looking for advice, information, and sometimes just a little comfort.

  • Bate, Lucy. Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth.
    Illus. by Diane de Groat. 1988. 32p. Dragonfly, (0-517-55122-5 ).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; Little Rabbit has to plan her eating around her loose tooth, and when she finally looses it in a bowl of ice cream, her next dilemma is deciding what to so with it.
  • Bunting, Eve. Trouble on the T-Ball Team.
    Illus. by Irene Trivas. 1997. 32p. Clarion, (0-395-66060-2 ).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; Interesting accounts of children on a T-ball team who all lose a tooth.
  • Carson, Jo. Pulling My Leg.
    Illus. by Julie Downing. 1990.32p. Orchard, Hard (0-395-66060-2). Paper (0-531-07046-8).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; A comic look at pulling teeth. A little girl's uncle makes a loose tooth an adventure.
  • Gordon, Amy. Midnight Magic.
    Illus. by Judy Clifford. 1997. 64p. Troll, (0-8167-3661-8).
    Gr. 1 - Gr. 4; A great read-aloud story for class. A young boy literally looses his tooth while his uncle is baby-sitting. Uncle Harry tries to remedy the situation with a rendition of "Puss in Boots".
  • Laminack, Lester L. Trevor's Wiggly-Wobbly Tooth.
    Illus. by Kathi Garry McCord. 1998. 32p. Peachtree (1-56145-175-4).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; Young Trevor is excited about having a loose tooth until his classmates start making suggestions for some ways to try to pull the tooth. A surprise ending that will make readers laugh out loud.
  • Lasky, Kathryn. Science Fair Bunnies.
    Illus. by Marilyn Hafner. 2000. 32p. Candlewick, Hard (0-7636-0729-0); Paper (0-7636-1735-0 ).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; A loose tooth suggests a science project. Two young boys "sacrifice" their loose teeth in the name of science and conduct successful experiments with them.
  • Maccarone, Grace. My Tooth Is About to Fall Out.
    Illus. by Betsy Lewin. 1995. 32p. Scholastic, (0-590-48376-5).
    Preschool - Gr. 1; A story to provide assurance to children who are worried about loosing a tooth. Children are told how it feels once a tooth is lost.
  • Middleton, Charlotte. Tabitha's Terrifically Tough Tooth. 2001. 32p. Penquin Putnam/Phyllis Fogelman, (0-8037-2583-3).
    Preschool - Gr. 2; A humorous story about Tabitha who tires every trick in the book to get her loose tooth to come out, only to have a very big sneeze solve the problem.
  • Munsch, Robert, Andrew's Loose Tooth.
    Illus. by Michael Martchenko. 1998. 32p. Scholastic/Cartwheel, Hard (0-590-21102-1); Paper (0-590-34197-9).
    Preschool - Gr. 1; Exaggerated humor in a patterned text describing a young boy's difficulty in finding someone to help him remove his loose tooth.
  • Silverman, Martin. My Tooth Is Loose!
    Illus. by Amy Aiken. 1994. 32p. Puffin (0-14037001-3).
    Preschool - Gr. 3; When Georgie discovers he has a loose tooth, all of his friends have suggestions of what he should do to make it come out.

Teeth and Tooth Care

Books that provide entertaining and educational information about oral structure and function as well as recommendations for proper home care.

  • Keller, Laurei. Open Wide: Tooth School Inside. 2000. 40p. Holt, (0-8050-6192-4).
    Gr. 1- Gr. 4; Cartoon tooth characters and their teacher, Dr. Flossman, take readers through a hilarious informative day of tooth school.
  • Rowan, Kate. I Know Why I Brush My Teeth.
    Illus. by Katherine Mc Ewen. 1999. 32p. Candlewick (0-7636-0504-2).
    Preschool - Gr. 2.; A book from Sam's Science Series. This explains the importance of brushing one's teeth.
  • Silverstein, Alvin and others. Tooth Decay and Cavities. 1999. 48p. Watts (0-531-11580-1).
    Gr. 3 - Gr. 6; A discussion of the structure and function of the teeth, cavity formation, treatment and prevention. A glossary, bibliography, and web sites are included.
  • Stone, Tanya Lee. Toothpaste from Start to Finish.
    Photos by Jill Brady. 2001. 32p. Blackbirch, (1-56711-481-4).
    Gr. 3 - Gr. 6; A step by step explanation of how toothpaste is made, beginning with the raw materials and ending with the finished product. Bibliography and index included.


Share poems about teeth and/or invite children to create a classroom book of their own tooth poems.

  • Dakos, Kalli. " I Lost My Tooth in My Doughnut". Mrs. Cole on an Onion Roll and Other School Poems.
  • Hopkins, Lee Bennett. "This Tooth". More Surprises.
  • Whitehead, Jenny. "I Lost My Tooth". Lunch Box Mail and Other Poems.

Ask Students to come up with an original tradition to celebrate each time someone in the class loses a tooth.

  • Beeler, Shelby, B. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof.
  • Brill, Marlene Targ. Tooth Tales from Around the World.

Tie Teeth to a study of community helpers.

  • Make a graph of the positive and negative things about being a dentist or dental hygienist.
  • Read about and/or research various dental professionals and what their jobs involve.

Take a field trip to a dental office or have a dentist or dental hygienist visit the classroom. Follow up by seeing whether students opinions of the professions have changed.

  • Swanson, Diane. The Dentist and You.
  • Hasse, Steven L. Visiting the Tooth Doctor.
  • Steig, William. Dr. DeSoto
  • Rosenberry, Vera. Vera Goes to the Dentist

Develop a classroom experiment of science project related to oral health.

  • Gills, Jennifer Story. Tooth Truth: Fun Facts and Projects.

Math Activities

  • Each month, use the data of teeth lost by students in the classroom to make a different type of graph. For Example:
    • Break down the number of teeth lost by boys versus girls.
    • Track how long it takes permanent replacement teeth to grow in.
  • Showers, Paul. How Many Teeth?

For Reluctant Readers

For students who find reading a challenge, try these series favorites about adventures with teeth.

  • Adler, Davis A. Young Cam Jansen and the Lost Tooth. Illus. by Susanna Natti. 1997. 32p. Viking, (0-670-87354-3).
  • Bourgeois, Paulette. Franklin and the Tooth Fairy. Illus. by Brenda Clark. 1996. 32p. Scholastic, (0-590-25469-3).
  • Brown, Marc. Arthur Tricks the Tooth Fairy. 1997. 24p. Random, (0-679-98464-X).
  • Brown, Marc. Arthur's Tooth. 1985. 32p. Little Brown, (0-316-11245-3).
  • Hoban, Lillian. Arthur's Loose Tooth. 1985. 64p. HarperTrophy, (0-06-444093-1).