It started when Chico writer Stacy Piper began telling her two youngsters about the “sugar bugs” on their teeth, and how brushing and flossing would send those critters packing. She and her husband, Sam, noticed that the silly story encouraged dental hygiene. So Stacy teamed with another Chicoan, illustrator Lori Escobar, to bring the tale to a larger audience.
What resulted was a big, full-color children’s book called “Sugar Bugz: They Live On Your Teeth” ($16.50 in hardcover from Bliss Bless Press; available at sugarbugz.net and locally at Lyon Books in Chico). Pediatric dentist Erik H. Roos writes in the foreword that “this book effectively shows children the link between cavities and poor dietary habits. Combining this link with the importance of brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist, this book is an excellent resource. …”
It’s night and the little green creatures waking up on a beautiful set of teeth. “Sugar Bugz, Sugar Bugz/ live on your teeth/ They do the most damage/ while you sleep.// They even play hide and seek/ in between your teeth.”
How did they get there? “Well, I’ll tell you their trick./ They hide in your food, thin or thick./ They sneak aboard/ what you eat and drink./ When they get in your mouth/ they make your breath stink, stink, stink!”
What to do? They don’t like fruits and vegetables, so eat those. And “brush up and down and back and forth./ In a circle and do it again./ Brush up and down and back and forth./ In a circle, and do it again!// Floss between those pearly white teeth,/ because those Bugz are way down deep./ Rinse them away,/ down, down the sink./ They will be gone/ before you blink!”
Finally, “You must visit the dentist/ a few times a year/ for good reminders/ that you need to hear.” The Sugar Bugz try to erase the appointment, but to no avail. The dentist sends ‘em on their way.
The pictures and the included Sugar Bugz stickers will have kids laughing, and that’s the tooth.