Think dentists are scary? It's what you bring to the dentist that is really scary...  


It is a humorous, rhyming story about the Sugarbugs that live in your mouth and the revolting habits that they have, which make your breath smell and your teeth decay.

BE WARNED: it contains the word 'poo'! 

 Open Wide Front Page Jpeg
Dentist copyright 



My name is Alex Rushworth and I am the proud author of this book.  I have worked in the world of dentistry for the past 22 years.  For the last 13 I have worked as a paediatric dentist with Northumberland Dental Services.

In this time, there has been very little improvement in the dental health of children.  Annual surveys show that 30% of 5-14 year olds have dental decay and that the extraction of decayed teeth is the third most common reason for children having a general anaesthetic. 

Although I love my job, I find statistics like this heartbreaking. Unfortunately, from my beautiful corner of the North East coast, I am pretty powerless to make big changes but I hope that this book can make a difference.





Part of my job is showing children how to brush their teeth and trying to make them understand why they need to do it.  This means explaining it to everyone from pre-schoolers to disintrested teenagers whilst also getting parents to understand what an important role they play in their child's oral health and sensible diet.

Over the years I developed what my nurses called my 'poo story'. Rather than say that Streptococcus Mutans ferment sugars and starches in your mouth to produce acid and that this acid environment promotes tooth decay,  I tell children that Sugarbugs eat your leftovers and (when they can't find a loo inside your mouth) they poo on our teeth.  

Not surprisingly, they find it utterley revolting!  However, it also helps them to make the link between what they eat, why they brush their teeth and what will happen if they don't. 

Once I had my own children I saw how much they enjoyed reading rhyming storybooks and decided to write the 'poo story' in rhyme for them. 


feast copyright
 toothbrush chase copyright


By this time, my talented sister-in-law, Helen had taken a career break from her job as a solicitor and set up an illustration company, Ibex Illustrations.  Helen brought my story to life with her bright and bold illustrations. 

I took some of the images and read the story to my younger daughter's nursery class and, when I saw what an impact it had on them, I wondered if others would like it too. 

Unfortunately, getting a book published is incredibly difficult so I decided to put my money where my (Sugarbug-free) mouth is and self-publish. The result is something that we are very proud of: 'Open Wide, What's Inside?'


Without the marketing department of a publishing house behind us, it is up to us to spread the word.  

We see the book not only as a storybook for parents to buy or borrow from a library but also as a teaching aid.  Therefore, we are approaching bookshops and libraries and also educational departments and professional publications as well as oral health product manufacturers.

With these different markets in mind we have created a range of products (and are open to requests for other purpose-specific items).  Currently we have the book in two sizes:  

  • 148mm square (ISBN: 978-0-9574399-1-7); and
  • 210mm square (ISBN: 978-0-9574399-0-0).
The former is ideal to give away as part of an oral health promotion excercise.  We are also developing an oversized book at 420mm square for playgroups, nurseries and schools to read out to a larger group of children.  Also in development we have a range of posters.

If you would like to join us on our campaign and purchase a copy or copies of our book please head to our HOW TO BUY YOUR COPY page, or contact us:

Thank you 
Alex Rushworth
BDS (Sheffield), DPDS (Bristol)


Eat less sugar web
If you want to find out more, you can follow Alex on Facebook or on Twitter Facebook ftwitter logo
Button new OWWI home jpg