Do you dread the day when you have to take your children to the dentist? Colorado dentist Jeanette Courtad knew this feeling all too well. Dr. Courtad has been the dentist at the Colorado School of Mines Student Health Center since 1999 and was formerly a volunteer teacher at the University of California at San Francisco’s Public Health Department. She decided to make a change in the way kids learn about their dental health and wrote a book series called “Toothful Tales.” Her series promotes oral health among kids and expecting mothers and is teaching kids why their oral health is important in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
Dr. Courtad realized the need for this series when she had to present the importance of brushing, flossing, and having a healthy mouth to a group of kindergarteners.
By making cartoon-like sculptures, Dr. Courtad used relatable characters to teach this class. She watched as the children engaged with her visual representations and decided to make a greater impact by starting a book series.
Dr. Courtad’s first book, “Toothful Tales: How We Survived the Sweet Attack,” allows children and parents to view the importance of their oral health. Her visual representations make the oral health experience understandable and entertaining for children.
Inside Dr. Courtad’s “Toothful Tales: How We Survived The Sweet Attack”
Kids are fascinated when their teeth fall out. They’ll show anyone they can find. A book explaining the process of teeth falling out allows them to discuss it in a way they can understand.
“I made the cuspid, or Cuspi, more concerned with aesthetics and how things feel. She doesn’t like to be covered in sticky sweets,” Dr. Courtad says as she describes the characters she created. “Then Mola brings out the functionality since [the molar] is the more powerful chewing surface of the mouth. I tried to address all aspects of oral functioning with the teeth characters.”
The characters were created with carved-out couch foam covered in terry cloth, a fabric that could attach Velcro “germs” to the teeth. These cartoon-like sculptures are transformed into fun graphics in her book and teach parents and kids the importance of dental health in an entertaining way.
After the success of Dr. Courtad’s first book, she decided to expand it into a series including “Toothful Tales: Our Sensational Dental Adventure” and “Toothful Tales: Becoming Me Cavity Free.”
Her next two books were primarily written for pregnant mothers. Expecting moms don’t always have their oral health top of mind. Dr. Courtad realized that many women weren’t educated on how to care for their infant’s oral health, too. She detailed the importance of caring for their baby’s teeth. She uses her book “Toothful Tales: Becoming Me Cavity Free” to provide an in-depth yet entertaining way to inform pregnant women with bright graphics that are easy to understand.
Finally, Dr. Courtad wrote an additional book in the series targeting college-aged students about the impact that snacking and sugary drinks have on oral health.
Dr. Courtad has taken her idea of presenting and teaching kids the importance of keeping their mouth healthy and transformed that idea into an influential and educational book series. Her “Toothful Tales” book series promotes oral health among kids, expecting mothers, and more.
For more information on how to help your kids have a healthy mouth and smile, click here.