Every adult and parent understands the importance of brushing, but teaching young children isn’t always that easy. If you think about it, isn’t playing outside or watching T.V. more fun? That’s were debut author Linda Valderrama comes in. She has over 25 years experience as a dental hygienist and has written a fun children’s book, Brush Barry Brush to help parents work with their young children to achieve this goal.
I was able to chat with Valderrama a few times, as we prepared for her current World of Ink Virtual Tour. I asked her what the reason behind writing Brush Barry Brush was. She had this to say, “I’m a strong believer in good oral hygiene and how it leads to good overall health and well-being. I also believe good daily habits must be acquired early in life. My goal is to help parents and children learn this basic yet very essential routine in a fun and enjoyable way.”
Her book Brush Barry Brush is a unique children’s book that helps instill in young children this simple routine into their daily lives with colorful illustrations by Sudi Memarzadeh and fun stickers to be used on a chart in the back of the book. Valderrama also shared with me her goal to develop programs for schools, assisted living facilities and healthcare institutions. “I want to enable them to offer more effective oral hygiene programs,” Valderrama said.
Even though Brush Barry Brush is a picture book for children ages three to eight, any child and adult will enjoy reading about Barry and what happens if you don’t brush after eating. There are cute playful multi-ethnic characters and different types of foods from healthy snacks to sweets, so it’s no wonder it was one of the 2011 International Book Award Finalists.
Being a mom who’s oldest went through not one, but four baby root canals by four-years-old, I can speak from experience how important a daily oral routine is. I shared my son’s story with Valderrama and she offered some interesting facts and pointers on creating healthy oral habits from the start with your children.
• Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent, yet mostly preventable childhood diseases!
• Be sure to brush the teeth of your baby and preschoolers. Tooth decay can occur as soon as the teeth emerge.
• Over 40% of children will be affected by tooth decay before age 5.
• Economic times are tough. Avoid long-term dental costs by making regular brushing a family habit. Think of a regular toothbrushing regimen as a good investment that will result in big savings in these tight financial times.
• Prevent cavities on candy-filled holidays by giving your child a new toothbrush, too!
• Just as you might want to reinforce any good behavior, keep a chart complete with stickers and rewards for great brushing.
• Enlist the whole family. Parents should brush with their kids and serve as a positive role model.
• Make brushing fun instead of a chore by brushing to a song. Children will learn to enjoy doing it.
• Allow your young children to brush his or her own teeth, but make sure you do the brushing at least once a day as well.
I know my children enjoy many of these suggestions from Valderrama and my young girls are much better about brushing than their older brother was now that we have Brush Barry Brush in our home. They tell me at bedtime, “Mommy, we don’t want to have blue teeth like Barry.” I smile as they pop in the chewable dye our family dentist gave us to help my children see if they brushed their teeth good enough, and they never go to bed with blue teeth, only perfectly white smiles.
Before I got off the phone with Valderrama, I asked her if there was anything else she would like to share with readers.
“I always felt my pediatric patients were my best chance at making a real impact on dental health — an opportunity to develop healthy habits that could last a lifetime. They are the most fun and the most receptive. I have many patients whose teeth I have cleaned since age three. Some are now adults with kids of their own who have asked what exactly I did to get them to brush and to get the routine to stick. When enough people had asked about this, I was inspired to put my ideas to pen. Statistics show that 50% of the children have cavities even before they reach second grade. My goal is to make toothbrushing fun and empower children to prevent tooth decay.”
Linda Valderrama R.D.H. has treated patients from ages two to one hundred years old and has successfully developed preventative oral hygiene programs tailored to individual needs and a book parents will want to add to their collection just like one of the many potty training books we all have if you are a mom with a toddler.
In addition to writing Brush Barry Brush, Valderrama has also made it her mission to educate San Diego’s youth, by hosting speaking engagements, book signings and future seminars. The July ’11 World of Ink Virtual Tour is just another way for Valderrama to reach out to parents and their children about her mission. Her goal is to minimize our nation’s significant, yet mostly preventable childhood disease, tooth decay.
You can find out more about Linda Valderrama’s July ’11 World of Ink Virtual Tour schedule at Stories for Children Publishing. There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Valderrama and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions. Valderrama will be checking in throughout the tour and is offering an additional giveaway for those who leave comments throughout the tour.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children. This writer, Kris Quinn Christopherson and Irene Roth will be chatting with Linda Valderrama R.D. H. about her book, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Margot will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life.
The show will be live July 18, 2011 at 2pm EST. You can tune in at the World of Ink Network site at World of Ink Network. You can listen/call in at (714) 242-5259. (Note: if you can’t make the show, you can listen on demand at the same link.)