Dentist Dr. Mark Vogley often visits schools in the Chagrin Valley wearing his super hero Super Plaque Fighter suit instead of a traditional white coat as he builds awareness of dental health.
Now, he has written a book, “Tooth Poop – The Truth About Dental Cavities” illustrated by cartoonist Jenny Campbell of Chagrin Falls, to teach children about caring for their teeth through brushing and flossing. Adults might benefit from reading this book.
Dr. Vogley, whose practice Dentistry at Winbury is in Bainbridge, recalled how he was a new dentist in town in 1997 and spoke at the Chagrin Falls High School career day event. He was assigned to the same class with Ms. Campbell, known nationwide for her syndicated newspaper cartoon Flo & Friends. She also had illustrated children’s books.
“Who wants to hear a dentist when there is a cartoonist in the room,” he said with a laugh. “The kids were way more interested in hearing about her career.”
They became friends and they met for coffee one day and he told her about his idea for a children’s book. “I showed her a rough manuscript and she liked the idea and wanted to be a part of it,” he said. By 2010, they had a rough draft.
Dr. Vogley recalled how he spent more than six years sending the draft to literary agents and publishers all over the country. “It never got picked up by anyone.”
In the meantime, he was dressing as his alter ego “Super Plaque Fighter” and visiting schools and preschools in the area teaching them the lessons found within “Tooth Poop.”
Then in 2016, Ms. Campbell was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought a brave battle and won, Dr. Vogley said. In 2018 he told her, “We must publish Tooth Poop.” They decided to self-publish it and after finalizing grammar and artwork, “Tooth Poop” was available.
It is now available for purchase at his dental office and through Amazon.com. “It was a real dream to have my vision realized through Jenny’s artistic skills,” Dr. Vogley said.
In describing the book, geared to children ages 3 to 12, Dr. Vogley said it is based on a story that he has told many of his young patients over the years as to the importance of caring for your teeth.
The main character is 8-year-old Danny, based on a real patient who is now grown up. Danny is told by “Dr. Dent” that each time he comes, he has another cavity. Danny responds by saying he doesn’t like to brush and floss.
Dr. Dent then explains to Danny that bacteria are small microscopic bugs living in his mouth that can’t be seen. They also like to eat the same foods Danny eats, he explains. The illustration shows Danny with a big pizza.
After the bacteria eat the pizza, Dr. Dent explained, “they poop it out, right onto your teeth!”
Danny is grossed out, and Dr. Dent explains that dental cavities are caused by tooth poop. That is the reason to brush and floss every single day, to remove that tooth poop. Danny then wants to run home and brush and floss.
Dr. Vogley explained that tooth poop is actually lactic acid produced by bacteria in the mouth after processing carbohydrates like sugar, pizza and spaghetti. Lactic acid causes dental cavities.
Many parents have told him that after telling the story to their children, the kids have become much better brushers. “They are grossed out by the truth and end up brushing and flossing their teeth,” Dr. Vogley said.
“The neat thing about the book is that it is a story based on what I told kids 20 years ago to do. Parents have always said it helped motivate their children to brush. They said they didn’t know how bacteria produces lactic acid, or ‘tooth poop,’” he said. “It is based on scientific fact.”
Along with his words, Ms. Campbell’s cartoons tell the story and are whimsical and fun. “The kids laugh at the illustrations,” Dr. Vogley said. “She did such a great job.”
Dr. Vogley noted that he realized that if he self-published the book, he could someday use profits to help children in low-income areas. “I hope to use a portion of the proceeds to fund organizations like Medworks in Ohio, which provides free dental services for those who can’t afford them,” he said.
As to his Super Plaque Fighter outfit, Dr. Vogley noted how he had worked with retired dentist Dr. Jeff Campbell at Dentistry at Winbury. Dr. Campbell told him of the Super Plaque Fighter outfit he wore. “He said I had to wear one, and I said no,” Dr. Vogley said. “Twenty years later when he retired, for fun I wore the outfit to his retirement party to celebrate his life. Then I wore it to a class and the kids loved it and it is so much fun.” He has visited with more than 10,000 children over the years.
Dr. Vogley is a graduate of Kenston High School and grew up in Bainbridge where he lives today. He is a cum laude graduate from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1996 and continued his training through an Advanced General Dentistry Residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1997. He completed several years of study at the premier center for advanced dental education, the Pankey Institute.
Ms. Campbell has illustrated 20 children’s books in addition to her cartoon strip. She has been a freelance illustrator for more than 30 years. She was raised in Arizona and has a journalism degree from Arizona State University and she spent 13 years as a newspaper reporter in California. In 1988, she switched to cartooning and ended up in Chagrin Falls.
Dr. Vogley said his wife Leigh Anne and sons Keegan, Brennan and Camden, along with his parents Mark and Cyndy Vogley of Bainbridge and siblings Heather and Sean all love the book. He said Dr. Campbell and Dr. Kelly McClintock, his partner at Dentistry at Winbury, as well as the team at the dental office all supported him.
Medworks is holding a Medworks day at the Cleveland Convention Center Nov. 22-23, and Dr. Vogley and Dr. McClintock and their team will be donating their time with other dental professionals.
The book “Tooth Poop” can be purchased for $10 at Dentistry at Winbury or online at Amazon for $12.95.