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Promoting kids’ book with teeth in it

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Promoting kids’ book with teeth in it

Dentist Jeanette Flannery Courtad with her book entitled "Toothful Tales: How We Survived the Tooth Attack."

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED July 31, 2009 2:02 a.m.
It took dentist Jeanette Flannery Courtad more almost 15 years to complete her first children’s book – appropriately themed after teeth and how to care for them.

Now that it’s completed, the Colorado-based dentist is making a swing through her old familiar territory to both promote the book “Toothful Tales: How W4 Survived the Tooth Attack” and to thank those who helped with its production during a series of book signings and meet-and-greets.

Inside the office of Manteca dentist Pamela Andrews on Thursday afternoon – the two were roommates at the University of California San Francisco’s esteemed dentistry school before graduating in 1989 – more than a dozen people packed in to the waiting area not for a scraping or a cleaning, but to learn more about the book that took longer for Flannery Courtad to write than some of her children have been alive.

“What’s amazing about that is that I always had this idea in my mind about what I wanted to do with this book, and when I had children, then everything just changed – there was more of an emphasis on brushing and on flossing and slowly that started to mold the characters into what they are in the book,” Courtad said. “Over time many different things changed, but the message to maintain healthy teeth and gums is a constant.”

Much like other great children’s storywriters like Maurice Sendak, the majority of Courtad’s story focuses on the bright and vibrant pictures that tell the story of characters like “Incisa,” “Cuspi,” and “Mola” in a fun-loving way that she hopes will resonate with the children of the younger generations.

As the amount of sugary substances consumed on a daily basis continues to rise, so does the number of patients that she starts to see at a much younger age – unaware that things like some of the sweet candies have nearly the name pH as battery acid that popular drinks like Red Bull don’t fare much better.

“Everywhere you look it’s out there, and we want to educate kids about how to take care of their teeth,” Courtad said. “When you figure that these kids are coming in to you with these problems at this age, you have to wonder whether they’ll make it until they’re 80.”

All of the illustrations – most of which are elaborate and help tell the story as much through picture as it does through words – were drawn by Courtad, and she chose the self-publishing route rather than shopping the book around for a buyer.

Before returning to her home in Golden, Colorado – where she relocated from the Bay Area – she plans on making a swing through Southern California to visit family in her hometown of Redondo Beach and make a stop at Loyola Marymount, her alma mater.

Of course there will be several other dental offices that will host her readings over the next several weeks.

“When I started with this, I knew absolutely nothing,” Courtad said. “Now I’ve gotten a little bit used to the process, and I’m happy that I had the chance to produce something that might resonate with the youth of today and help them stay away from the things that are bad for them.”

Plans are already in the works for a sequel – one which she says won’t take nearly as long as 14 years to complete now that she knows the system.

“Oh, it’s definitely something that’s coming,” she said of the follow up. “Now that I know what I’m doing, I can take the story to a whole different place.”
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