When drummer and father-of-two, Ian Aguado-Bush, wrote a guide to cleaning teeth for his son, Raúl, he had no idea how popular it would prove to be. Here, he shares his passion for a campaign to improve the oral health of children – and not just his own!
My inspiration for these books came from my son. Raúl’s lessons at school were called ‘oral health’ education but it was more to do with what teeth were made of. In fact, from what I understand of the curriculum, studying oral health at primary level actually doesn’t have to mean human oral health – it can be anything from how many teeth you have to what a T-rex cleaned his teeth with. It’s rubbish. So, I set out to put together some books that Raúl could use as an easy reference. He needed information about how to keep his teeth healthy and how to keep his teeth forever – and not have them extracted like so many children have to these days. It’s all down to education and there seemed to be a distinct lack of it in primary schools and nurseries.
Elephants and badgers
The problem with current available literature is that often it’s a story about an elephant or a badger or an animal going to see the dentist. It is not focused information on facts that describe exactly what to do. It doesn’t have to be made into a story.
Alternatively, it has so much clinical information in it that a child either reads, but doesn’t understand, or simply doesn’t read it because it’s not engaging enough. Children are not stupid; they understand that animals don’t go to the dentist they see. We don’t need to patronise them. I believe those responsible for primary health education need to rethink about who they are addressing. We have simply designed our books to be as child friendly as possible by trying to see it through their eyes and by trying to remember what we thought when we were children trying to learn new things.
Back to basics
Children don’t need to know all the clinical information; they just need to be shown what to do and how to do it. We have stripped it right back to basics and included as much information as we can in an illustrated format. Where there is copy, we haven’t used any clinical big words, we’ve used the language of children – and that is where our children had massive input. We asked them how they describe it and just elaborated on that to make it read well. There really is no age bracket to the books because it is not based around academic ability. We’ve had very advanced children who maybe find them slightly childish, but our oldest child patient was 16 with learning difficulties so they were perfect. We have even had parents email us to say they’ve learnt from them. They are more likely to pick up our books and not bother with the clinical ones because our books are fun, engaging and nice to flick through with their children. They may not bother reading leaflets, but they’ll read a book their child brings them – or they think their children might like. The illustrator is a childhood friend of mine who is my partner in the business and campaign called David Foreman).
We worked hard with the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) to get it right. I wanted to make sure that the information I was giving my son was accurate, so who better to speak to than the experts there. The response has been completely overwhelming with companies such as Henry Schein, the British Association of Dental Therapists, Denplan, DBG and Dentaid coming on board almost immediately, alongside the BDHF.
Bal Chana, the president of the British Association of Dental Therapists, was the missing cog and, now she is on board, she has turned the campaign into something I never thought it could be to the point where we could be involved with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world (can’t yet say who) in a UK campaign initiative.
We have 10 publications planned in total, not all based around oral health, but based around lessons aimed at children.
My children’s teeth are immaculate and the dentist compliments us on their teeth every time we go. To be fair, I’d be a bit concerned if the weren’t – they use my books every morning and every night! My dentist is Pippa McNee and she is awesome. My children love her and she loves the books.
Want a copy?
Go to www.cleanmyteeth.co.uk or contact Henry Schein, the BDHF, DBG, Waterstones, Amazon and Source 1.