Children’s Book Author Uses Black Characters to Fight Dentist Fear

Children’s Book Author Uses Black Characters to Fight Dentist Fear

If you’re a parent who encourages early reading, you’ll absolutely love our latest find: A Sugar Bug on My Tooth. The cutesy title, coupled with beautiful illustrations (by Reginald William Butler) of a little brown girl with gold hair ribbons, is a brilliant way to introduce the often times frightening subjects of dentists and oral hygiene to your little one. Dr. Linda Sturrup, a dentist and the author of A Sugar Bug on My Tooth, wrote the children’s book to put kids at ease for their first dental visit. Just in time for National Children’s Dental Health Month, spoke with Dr. Linda Sturrup on the fun and enlightening read, plus the importance of oral health among our children. Read what she had to say, and check out the vivid illustrations too.


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What inspired you to author A Sugar Bug on My Tooth?

Working in a practice that treats young children, it’s very common to see them become afraid and apprehensive during their initial dental examination. This behavior inspired me to write A Sugar Bug on My Tooth. The story–beautifully illustrated by Reginald W. Butler and also available in Spanish, Un Bichito en Mi Diente–helps assuage that fear. I wanted to write an enlightening story for young readers to help introduce them to the dentist.

We noticed that the main character, Natalie Jean, is a little girl of color. Was that an intentional choice?

There are disparities in dental health care which affect minority children. There is a lack of access to dental health care programs, which emphasize prevention, patient education and dental treatment. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42 percent of children ages 2 to 11 have cavities on their primary (baby) teeth. Unfortunately, black and Latino children are among those with the highest incidence of decay.

What’s the biggest mistake or oversight parents make regarding their children’s dental health?

A huge mistake is waiting for a problem to develop before their child’s initial visit to the dentist. It’s important for parents to understand that a healthy diet complete with fruits and vegetables can help prevent cavities. This along with brushing and flossing is essential to a child’s overall health.

Keep reading onto the next page to find out how often you should be taking your children to the dentist.