TOOTH BUNNY IS OUT OF HIDING…IT’S ALL HAPPENING!!

Introducing Tooth Bunny. For the love of children and their oral health. Best care starts at age zero. Best care begins at home.

Introducing Tooth Bunny. For the love of children and their oral health. Best care starts at age zero. Best care begins at home

FINALLY…after a long, LONG delay.

THREE….TWO….ONE….(big breath)

THREE…TWO….ONE….(put trembling fingers on the keyboard)

THREE….TWO…ONE….(ignore the “YOU CAN’Ts” & “YOU SHOULDN’Ts” and type)

OK! Here I go…(one eye opened, one eye closed)

Tooth Bunny has been my secret project for a number of years now. To my family, Tooth Bunny is like a “family treasure”. So introducing it to the world is kind of a BIG thing for me. I’ve had many moments of doubts. I’ve had a number of “near starts” and many more “let’s not starts”. Keeping Tooth Bunny for only my closest circles would be the easy option. However, unceasing encouragement from my family and dearest friends have moved me from “chicken mode” to “brave mode” .

SO, WELCOME TO WWW.TOOTHBUNNY.COM !

Thank you for sharing your time with Tooth Bunny. Together, I hope that can make a difference to children’s oral health and build their dental confidence, which in turn, contribute to better lifelong health and well-being.

At the same time, let’s be good friends along the way!

Hugs and Smiles,

TaTa

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LET’S PREVENT TRANSFER OF DECAY-CAUSING GERMS

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that speaks volumes.

Don't let Germies Be Your Boss. Acid-loving and acid-producing germs. Bacteria. Bugs (whatever you want to call them) contribute to dental decay.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO ENSURE GOOD ORAL HEALTH IN OUR CHILDREN.

Research shows that the bacteria in our mouth determines in part our risks of dental decay.(1,2) Both good and bad bacteria establish themselves as “permanent residents” during the first three years of life.(1-3) The bacteria are transferred from one person to another via saliva.(1) Traditionally, the finger points to Mum, as Mum generally spend the most time with children as the primary carer.(2,3) Contemporary lifestyles have changed this and many children are cared for by many, including Dad, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunties and Nannies.(4) Many children also attend childcare facilities from a very young age and there is evidence of bacteria transmissions between unrelated children.(5) Potentially, anyone who spends substantial time with our children can influence their lifelong decay risks…by the transfer and colonization of their bacteria – both good and bad.

Decay causing bacteria are one of those bad bacteria to establish themselves during the early years of life.(1-3) Once established, these acid-loving, acid-producing bacteria make the mouth more welcoming for more bad bacteria to colonize (3). Once established, these bacteria are difficult to get rid of, resulting in a mouth environment that supports decay and breakdown of teeth.(1, 3) The earlier the colonization and the higher the number of these decay-causing nasties in the mouth, the higher the risk of dental decay – for a LIFETIME! (1,2,6)

What does this mean? What can we do about it?

– Those who look after our children, need to maintain good oral health. Bad bacteria are increased in the presence of dental decay and other oral diseases. More bad bacteria in the mouth, higher risks of transfer.(2,4,6,7)

– Minimize opportunities for bacteria transfer via saliva by avoiding sharing of food, drinks, utensils with our children, especially pre-school aged children.(1,2,8)

– To win the fight against dental decay – everyone who cares for, or works with, children need to be aware of good oral health practices and current oral health knowledge.

Despite dental decay being a preventable oral disease, leaving the job of prevention to “the experts” alone has not led to successful eradication of dental decay. Best oral care starts at home. Community is key. Together as team, we can.

Hugs & Smiles,

TaTa

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TOOTH BUNNY MOTTO

Tooth Bunny's motto: "Drink Water. Brush and Floss. Don't Let Germies be Your Boss" encompasses the basic to optimizing oral health for a lifetime

Tooth Bunny’s motto: “Drink Water. Brush and Floss. Don’t Let Germies be Your Boss” encompasses the basic to optimizing oral health for a lifetime

I like to write down my thoughts and doodle out ideas. I’ve kept diaries since primary school. Even now, I still prefer scribbling in a diary over Google calendar and mobile organisers. So, it came as no surprise, when I found I had written down phrases and drew pictures when I first conceptualised Tooth Bunny.

What was surprising was, despite a 4 year time lapse, I came up with almost exactly the same motto for Tooth Bunny. In 2012, I wrote the words “Brush and Floss. Don’t Let Bad Germs Be Your Boss.” “over a doodle of Tooth Bunny. In 2016, I came up with the words, “Drink Water. Brush and Floss. Don’t Let Germies Be Your Boss.” for a little jingle my daughter made up.  Co-incidental or God sent?

Why did I choose these words for the Tooth Bunny motto?

DRINK WATER. Water contributes to health in many ways – for teeth and also for our body.  Dentally, water clears the mouth of food and sticky beverages and reduces plaque (communities of germs or bacteria) from building up. Water contributes to saliva. Saliva helps to protect teeth.

BRUSH AND FLOSS. Oral hygiene habits such as tooth brushing and flossing teeth, help to physically remove plaque. It is impossible to alleviate all sugary, sticky and/or sour items from our diet, so effective toothbrushing and flossing must be in place to combat food impaction, bacterial challenges and plaque build up.

DON’T LET GERMIES BE YOUR BOSS. Germs (bacteria) that cause dental decay are “normal residents” of the mouth. In small numbers, these germs do not lead to problems. When there is an excess level of these acid loving and acid producing germs, disease such as dental decay results. It is important to make sure natural balance is maintained in the mouth.

Let’s challenge ourselves to “Drink water. Brush and floss”. What we do is more important than what we say. Children learn by example. Let’s be good examples!

Hugs and Smiles,

TaTaI like to write down my thoughts and doodle out ideas. I’ve kept diaries since primary school. Even now, I still prefer scribbling in a diary over Google calendar and mobile organisers. So, it came as no surprise, when I found I had written down phrases and drew pictures when I first conceptualised Tooth Bunny.

What was surprising was, despite a 4 year time lapse, I came up with almost exactly the same motto for Tooth Bunny. In 2012, I wrote the words “Brush and Floss. Don’t Let Bad Germs Be Your Boss.” “over a doodle of Tooth Bunny. In 2016, I came up with the words, “Drink Water. Brush and Floss. Don’t Let Germies Be Your Boss.” for a little jingle my daughter made up.  Co-incidental or God sent?

Why did I choose these words for the Tooth Bunny motto?

DRINK WATER. Water contributes to health in many ways – for teeth and also for our body.  Dentally, water clears the mouth of food and sticky beverages and reduces plaque (communities of germs or bacteria) from building up. Water contributes to saliva. Saliva helps to protect teeth.

BRUSH AND FLOSS. Oral hygiene habits such as tooth brushing and flossing teeth, help to physically remove plaque. It is impossible to alleviate all sugary, sticky and/or sour items from our diet, so effective toothbrushing and flossing must be in place to combat food impaction, bacterial challenges and plaque build up.

DON’T LET GERMIES BE YOUR BOSS. Germs (bacteria) that cause dental decay are “normal residents” of the mouth. In small numbers, these germs do not lead to problems. When there is an excess level of these acid loving and acid producing germs, disease such as dental decay results. It is important to make sure natural balance is maintained in the mouth.

Let’s challenge ourselves to “Drink water. Brush and floss”. What we do is more important than what we say. Children learn by example. Let’s be good examples!

Hugs and Smiles,

TaTa

A PROBLEM OR AN OPPORTUNITY?

Tooth Bunny is learning to see every problem as a new opportunity.

There is a Chinese proverb that says “The beginning of any thing is difficult.”

I can’t agree more.

The process involved in getting Tooth Bunny ready for “debut”, has been a steep learning curve. I’ve encountered problems, glitches, obstacles, issues as I tried my hands at doing everything myself. Through all these troubles, I’ve also learnt a great deal and discovered so much outside the realm of dentistry.

For example. when I was wanting to embed the Tooth Bunny jingle to the website to allow automated playback. I followed the instructions given to me meticulously and held my breath as I clicked “save embedded code”. Unfortunately, that one click shut down the editing annotations on my entire website!!

Can you imagine? My eyes were so wide, they could’ve popped out.

Fortunately, support was available. Thanks to “behind the scenes” engineers, my Tooth Bunny website was “ready to build” again within a few days.

Problems led to opportunities for learning and for reaching out. In reaching out, I was blessed by timely help, feedback and bonus opportunities to let more people know about Tooth Bunny.

That’s life, isn’t it? Every problem could be an opportunity.

By the way, If you have any oral health related topics or questions that you’d love Tooth Bunny to explore in future posts, please send us a message via the contact page or email info@toothbunny.com.  Let’s create opportunities for positive changes together!

Hugs & Smiles,

TaTa

FOR LITTLE ONES, JUICE OR NO JUICE ?

Fruit juices seem like a good idea. Marketed as a source of vitamins, good for hydration and energy, easy to digest and generally loved by children…it’s easy to understand why fruit juices are often incorporated into children’s diets.

Tooth Bunny asks the question: "Juice or No Juice for children? And why?"However, babies and toddlers do not need juice.(1) Excess consumption can interfere with feeding or consumption of solids.(1,2) Excess consumption may also contribute to metabolic problems, obesity and obesity-related diseases risks.(1-7). In terms of nutritional values, such as vitamins and fibre, whole fruits are much better.(1,6,7)

Dentally, regular consumption of fruit juices may cause problems that lead to teeth sensitivity and /or toothaches. All juices, freshly squeezed or 100% fruit concentrate or other, are sweet, sour and sticky.

These 3 “S” in combination render fruit juices as high risks for oral health:

  • Sweet – Sugars in juice, even if natural fruit sugars, contribute to dental decay risks;
  • Sour – Acids in juice, even if natural fruit acids, contribute to dental erosion risks;

  • Sticky – Juice sticks to teeth as it washes over them and delays being washed away by saliva (oral clearance), prolonging the negative effects of sugars and acids. (4, 7-8)

Introduction to and frequent consumption of fruit juices during infancy contribute to increased lifetime dental decay risks.(7) Decay (dentists call this “dental caries”) experience are increased in young children who are offered sugary drinks once a week or more and brushing less than twice a day.(4,7,8)

Taking into account general health and oral health, when it comes to fruit juices, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)’s feeding guideline (1) recommends:

  • “Exclusively breastfed infants do not require additional fluids up to 6 months of age.”
  • “Avoid leaving an infant unattended with a bottle containing liquids (i.e. no bottle propping).”
  • “Avoid juices and sugar-sweetened drinks and foods and drinks with added sugars.”
  • “Fruit juice is not necessary or recommended for infants. Consumption may interfere with their intake of breastmilk or infant formula.”

SO, ON A DAILY BASIS, “TAP INTO WATER” INSTEAD.

Smiles and Hugs,

TaTa

TOOTH BUNNY JINGLE

Tooth Bunny Orchestra playing the jingle for learning terrific teeth tips. Music makes learning fun.When I was very young, my grandparents would try to help me learn the alphabet and numbers by singing songs. Later as a student, I would often put key points into memorable tunes to help me study for exams. As a paediatric dentist, I often sing to my little patients to enhance learning and engagement.  So, naturally, I wanted to make a jingle for Tooth Bunny’s motto.

Together with my daughter, we came up with a basic tune to fit the words. One of our very talented friends – a music teacher and music therapist, transformed it into a fantastic jingle. Thank you Hilaria!

Jingles are a form of musical mnemonics. “Musical mnemonics”, aimed at improving memory, learning and engagement, are widely used in psychology, education and more recently, health(1).

We hope you’ll like Tooth Bunny’s jingle (click on the play button above to listen). Want to play the jingle on your favourite instrument and sing along? The simple tune is written into the Tooth Bunny picture at the top of this blog post.

Remember to “Drink water. Brush and floss. Don’t let germies be your boss.”!

Hugs & Smiles,

TaTa

DOES BABY’S MOUTH NEED TO BE CLEANED ?

If baby's mouth needs to be cleaned, could hand towels folded into bunny and carrot (oshibori art) come in handy?

We all know, toothbrushing twice a day is the general accepted norm in many parts of the world. Toothbrushing refers to brushing of teeth. So, What about when baby has no teeth yet? Does baby’s mouth and gums still need to be cleaned?

The answer is YES. Baby’s mouth and gums need to be cleaned.

While there may be no teeth you can see in the mouth of your newborn, baby’s mouth is going to be home for 20 baby teeth and eventually, 28-32 adult teeth (in most cases). Preparing the mouth (and oral environment) well, right from the beginning, gives children a head start to good oral health for life.

WHY?

  • It is easier to establish good habits from the beginning, rather than trying to change bad habits later.(1) Feeding, dietary and oral hygiene habits influence the types of germs that establish in the mouth, as well as the quantity and proportion of different germs in the mouth.(2-4)
  • The oral flora (good and bad germs in our mouths), establish themselves permanently in the first 3 years of life.(5) If there are proportionately fewer bad germs in the mouth to begin with, the potential harmful effects from bad germs would be reduced, for life. For example, mutans streptococci (one of the main acid-loving, acid producing germs causing tooth decay) can permanently establish themselves in the mouth even before teeth emerge, if baby is exposed to these germs frequently (these germs originate from adult mouths and are transferred via saliva)*.(6) By cleaning baby’s mouth and gums regularly, mutans streptococci don’t get to establish themselves easily. By delaying these germs from taking up permanent residence, the risk of dental decay is reduced.
  • There is a biological basis for children’s natural preference for sweet tastes (breastmilk (which is sweet) for survival and sweetness also has analgesic effects).(7) In addition, there are learned preferences to tastes which develop in the first years of life, through repeated experiences, and this may influence the development of oral diseases e.g. sweet preference, higher risk for tooth decay.(8-10) By cleaning baby’s mouth and gums after feeding, sweet tastes are not able to linger and contribute to the learned preference for becoming a “sweet tooth”.

So YES, it is important to clean baby’s mouth and gums EVERY DAY. Start as early as possible, preferably from age zero.

Next time, let’s explore the different options available for cleaning baby’s mouth and gums!

Hugs & Smiles,

TaTa