A dental nurse from Exeter has written a new children’s book with eye-catching characters to encourage kids to brush their teeth.
Shelley Poole created Mouff to make it easy for children to understand just how important it is to keep their teeth clean.
Mouff and the monsters who live among his molars deliver a colourful message about oral hygiene that appeals to youngsters.
She is especially keen to spread the word while access to dental practices is limited during the COVID-19 crisis.
“My goal overall is to change perceptions of oral health and to challenge the perception of dentistry. I genuinely hope that my book will help,” she said.
Shelley, who works in the Maxillofacial Surgery Department at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, explained: “The book has been a work in progress over the past 10 years and began as a piece of coursework in my final year at dental school.
“It started as two little books - The Tale of the Toothfairies and The Toothmonsters.
“I had seen a high number of children pass through the hospital in Bristol where I trained who had severely decayed teeth and many had been under general anaesthetic for tooth removal.
“Tooth decay is a preventable disease and so my plan was to encourage children to recognise brushing as something that was important, presented in a funny way.
“My first two books, didn’t hit the spot for me - my bad guys (the Toothmonsters) were a bit too cool and my good guy, a bit boring.
“I have written and re written and sketched out drawings over the years and eventually created my character Mouff (pronounced Mowf - a play on Mouth).
“He doesn’t brush his teeth and in rhyme and through funny pictures we learn what can happen if he doesn’t brush.”
Mouff is available as a download from the online marketplace Etsy at a cost of £1.50. Any profits will go to FORCE Cancer Charity.
“FORCE are really in need of funding. They provide amazing support for people with cancer,” said mum of one Shelley, who is also keen on art and music.
Mouff also has his own facebook page - www.facebook.com/lafleurbooks - where you can find out more.
“Give it a try, perhaps as a project for your home schooling,” said Shelley.
Mouff has had good feedback from its target audience, their parents and from dentists, hygienists and teachers. Here’s what some of them had to say:
"A copy of this should be in every dental practice"
“The boys LOVED your book. They can’t stop talking about the tooth monsters pooing! The best bit for them!”
“My two youngest will not miss brushing time any more since we received the book. Ollie still needs encouragement (but that’s more down to his additional needs) they all love the book and talk about the monsters pooing all the time!”
“J has told mum all about monsters that poo in mouths!”
“Z has read it and re read it to himself a few times...and believe me he doesn't always do that with books. He liked the pictures and finds the mouff with dirt and grime in funny and gross (boys’ humour). It definitely seemed to strike a chord. I love it.”
“Great book to help young children understand the importance of keeping their teeth and mouth clean. The fun way in which it is presented will help children remember it.”