Visiting the dentist can be daunting for young children – so South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has created a new, innovative and educational book to make check-ups at the dental surgery a positive experience for children in Calderdale.
The book will be officially launched at a special event at children’s museum Eureka! in Halifax on Monday 19 May.
‘I Want to Show the Dentist my Teeth’ tells the story of Gracie, a young girl visiting the dentist for the first time. It was developed by the Trust’s health improvement service in Calderdale to explain to children what they can expect when they visit the dentist for routine check-ups.
The book – which is aimed at children under five – includes bright and colourful illustrations by health improvement practitioner Sally Baker, accompanied by simple language explaining what happens on the day of Gracie’s visit to the dentist.
Vivienne Harlow, health improvement practitioner, wrote the book with her colleagues Kathryn Halstead and Catherine King from the Trust’s oral health improvement team. She said: “We produced the book because we wanted to encourage early visits to the dentist and make the experience a pleasant one. We also wanted to promote the prevention of dental problems – the book shows illustrations of healthier snacks and drinks which are kinder to your teeth and explains to children the importance of brushing their teeth every day.
“There are lots of very good books available, but they aren’t aimed at a younger age group and some include inappropriate wording and pictures which can portray a visit to the dental surgery as a negative experience. Everything in our book has been designed to be positive.
“We’re hoping that it will also encourage parents to read with their child and see the dentist in a positive light – not as somewhere they go when they have a problem.”
A ‘spot the difference’, which encourages children to find differences between two scenes of a dentist’s surgery, is also featured in the book to engage and entertain the readers.
The Trust’s health improvement service works with local communities to promote positive lifestyle changes. The team offers support and advice on topics such as stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, sexual and oral health, and mental health and wellbeing.
To find out more about the team, visit the website.