I have been an oral health educator for four years now and I like to look for books that are suitable for children for the purpose of reading in the waiting lounge, in surgery or during community awareness sessions.

I am also mum to two young girls: Olivia who is six and Seren who is almost three.

Open wideWhat's inside? provided a great bedtime reading session. The use of language and pictures was spot on for my six-year-old. Alex and Helen Rushworth have been really clever in their tale of the sugar bugs who fill themselves up on the foods that we eat then when they have big fat bellies they need to poo!

‘On top of your leftovers, which look like furry goo, there's now a pile of eye-wateringly stinky poo. It's nasty stuff. It drips and runs down your teeth onto your gums. And unless you brush them twice a day on your teeth that poo will stay’.

It then goes on to tell the reader how brushing twice a day will find those sugar bugs and chase them away, emphasising the importance of visiting a dentist as well. The book also includes some interesting facts for the older reader.

The book had a big impact on my six-year-old; not only did it provide giggles and screams of ‘yuck!’ but the message remained with her. She was able to discuss with me what the sugar bugs do and how to fight them, which did make her more enthusiastic about toothbrushing and understand why we have to do it instead of ‘because I said so’.

Several of my patients also enjoyed reading the story; I found it quite useful to give to mums to entertain younger siblings while I delivered oral health education to the older child. Again the general feeling was that it was spot on for children in a language that would engage and entertain them.

My only criticism I would give is that I feel the book should be bigger, more of a board book, as currently it's quite small. I think the pictures would have a greater impact and also the font used would be easier for a child to read if in larger type.

I really would recommend this book as a great addition to your waiting area library, at home and in education sessions.

Editor's note: A larger version of the book is also available: 210 mm square. The smaller version that Rachel reviewed offers an affordable option to oral health promotion teams when purchased in bulk.

‘The book had a big impact on my six-year-old; not only did it provide giggles and screams of “yuck!” but the message remained with her.’