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Cavity City is a place you don’t want to go

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Cavity City is a dark and dreary place. People go in with pearly whites and come out with rotten, stained and missing teeth.

To get there, all you've got to do is stop brushing and flossing regularly. La-Vawn Simons tours the sights in a children's book she wrote, Cavity City.

“In the city there's a caretaker who is responsible for burying all the rotten teeth,” the Smiles Inc dental hygienist said. “There's also the House of Floss. It's covered in cobwebs because no one ever goes there.

“There's a little box of floss inside the store window who wonders what it's like on the outside.”

Taxes in Cavity City include dental disease, long hours spent in the dental chair and painful corrective dental treatment.

“On the island we do have a high incidence of gum disease and periodontal disease,” Ms Simons said. “If we can teach good dental hygiene when children are young, we can start to reduce the incidence of dental disease. And a healthy mouth means a healthy body.”

Ms Simons wrote Cavity City 18 years ago, the night before giving an oral hygiene presentation to a group of young girls.

She was looking for a fun way to transmit her message about the necessity of regular brushing and flossing.

“I wanted something to keep them focused,” she said. “Most dental books are about a child's first visit to the dentist.

“I wanted my book to tell kids what happens to them if they don't take care of their teeth. Cavity City is where you end up, and this is not a place you want to go.”

After the presentation, however, she forgot all about her book. Then a few months ago, a fellow church member started talking about his bucket list.

“He was talking about all the things he wanted to do before he was 50,” Ms Simons said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I'll be 50 in another three years so let me start putting a list together myself'.”

Resurrecting Cavity City was one of the first things that came to mind.

She went home, pulled it out of a drawer and sent it to Pages Publishing Company.

Two weeks later, she was working on final edits and illustrations.

“It was fun visualising it,” said Ms Simons, a dental hygienist for 20 years. “It was amazing how much creativity came to light in me.

“At my previous dentist office I worked with a lot of young kids. Sometimes I wondered why the message about brushing their teeth wasn't getting through.”

She implemented a three-strikes programme in response. After that, children would be subjected to a 30-minute lesson on how to brush and floss.

“I also wanted them to know that they have to brush their tongues as well, because food and bacteria can sit on the tongue.

“Usually, after about three sessions, they got the message. I think sometimes parents don't know the proper way to brush themselves and pass that on to the next generation.”

Cavity City is available on Amazon now, and will be in Brown & Co shortly.

“I like being a hygienist because it is one of those professions where you can see the ‘after' result,” she said.

Ms Simons started writing for fun, around the age of 13.

“I used to keep a poetry book that I would jot down poems in,” she said. “At Devonshire Academy I had a teacher, Robin Tucker, who assigned us the task of writing a novel.

“I wrote one called Triplet Trouble. That was about triplets who found out they were all dating the same guy.”

She anticipates her next book, The Haunted Mouth, will be ready in time for Hallowe'en.

Teaching tool: dental hygienist La-Vawn Simons shows Cavity City to her niece Sa-Vannah Robinson (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
A story to tell: in La-Vawn Simons's Cavity City, people go in with perfect teeth and come out with rotten ones (Photograph supplied)

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Published March 16, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated March 16, 2018 at 8:52 am)

Cavity City is a place you don’t want to go

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