Grown Ups

Upcoming events

Book shop and library events coming soon. Sign up to The Rotters Club for the latest info.

17 September

Book signing

Waterstones, London

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23 October

Book signing

Foyles, London

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Toothy Facts

How can we stop tooth decay?

Teeth are built to last a lifetime. First, our milk teeth – or primary teeth – arrive, which start falling out naturally by around the age of six-years-old, and our secondary adult teeth arrive as

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Streptococcus mutans

So what are real Rotters?

The Rotters are based on real bacteria that live in our mouths from birth, called streptococcus mutans. There are other oral bacteria in there too, but this strain is the one scientists have identified as

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Did you know...?


Did you know that tooth enamel is the hardest substance on our bodies? It’s harder than gold! Stronger than our bones! But the difference is that enamel can’t heal itself like bones, so we need to look after our teeth. Then they’ll last a lifetime!

Toothless Tim

Here are some of the foods I should have eaten less of, and most importantly brushed off! How many can you name? And are there others you’d add to the list?


Here’s a pic of me and the gang first thing in the morning. Together we’re known as the bacteria, streptococcus mutans. I know! We look better in clothes. But hey, you won’t usually get to see us, because this picture magnifies us by 8,000 times our usual size!


Pssst. I’m gonna tell you a little secret. Did you know tooth decay is caused by our terrible toilet habits? We eat, wee, rot, repeat. Fact! Tooth decay is made with our wee! I’m not kidding. Would I lie to you..? Here’s a random picture of a laughing horse because he’s got great teeth and I don’t want to show you a toilet!


I don’t suppose you’ve got a bun? How many of these can you name?


Darling, did you know there are lots of different types of streptococcus bacteria? But ‘mutans’ is the bit that means Strep, Toc and Occus only want to live in a mouth! Yes, it’s ME, ME, ME who makes us such a special toothy gang! I’m not looking my best in this shot, but it’ll do.


Did you know fluoride is a natural element that strengthens teeth and prevents decay? In children younger than six, fluoride is already in the enamel (outer shell) of permanent teeth, which makes your teeth more resistant to bacteria and acids in food. So use toothpaste with fluoride to double paste those Rotters!


Did you know that children have 20 primary teeth until around six-years-old? Then these teeth fall out naturally and permanent teeth arrive. Take a look at the picture to see how many permanent teeth you end up with!


Did you know I’m made of leftover food and saliva? I know. I’m gorgeous! Like sea anemones! But I like to compare myself to a pair of tights (also known as pantyhose in the US). I cling to your teeth like a very fine slippery net and build a revolting group of friends. That’s when my bestie Tartar arrives. He won’t leave unless that dreadful dentist gets rid of him!


Did you know the first toothbrushes were made from twigs and leaves? Ouch! But better than nothing!

Dr Carey

Did you know healthy teeth need one very important mineral called calcium? All the foods in the photo are rich in calcium. How many can you name?


Here I am chillaxing on someone’s tooth. I’m also known as calculus or scale. I appear when plaque’s been there a while. I’m the hard, old version of Plaque. I’m like a beautiful coral reef, with lots of rough, tough places for other Rotters to hide in. The SCG can’t get rid of me alone! They need help from a dentist. I’m such a meanie. You gotta love me!

Latest posts


The real Rotters

Here are pictures of the bacteria the characters are based on in The Rotters, taken using a scanning electron microscope to magnify the bacteria by

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Here are a few links to some useful websites:

Created by the author

Activity Sheets

Fun printable activities for children aged 5+

Glossary of Terms

Words from the book that you or the little ones may not be familiar with!

Dental and health organisations

Dental journals and magazines

Dental tips and advice

UK Government

Advice on oral health

UK Government

Advice on teaching oral hygiene for Early Years Providers


Please get in touch if you’d like accompanying educational materials for your classroom.