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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Tiddalick takes on teeth



The Tiddalick takes on teeth program aimed to encourage Indigenous children to drink water between meals and to 'swig, swish, swallow' with water after eating. The character of Tiddalick was based on a character in an Indigenous dreamtime story. A resource package, Tiddalick's toothy tale package, was developed and included a teaching resource, oral health policy proforma, storybook, video, song, water bottles, stickers and a poster to be used in early childhood centres.

This program was successfully piloted in six early childhood centres (three of which were Indigenous). The NSW Oral Health Branch funded a statewide implementation of the program that included a 'train the trainer' workshop. All Indigenous childcare centres in NSW provide drinks to children which emphasise good oral health.


Awabakal Dental Clinic
38a Samdon St
Hamilton NSW 2303
Ph: (02) 4907 8555
Fax: (02) 4961 0497

Related publications

Tiddalick's toothy tale: presenters' kit (2003)

Curran A, Ballard A, Joyce B

This resource kit includes a book entitled Tiddalick and Narootah's toothy tale: a modern day dreamtime story, a CD featuring the 'Swig swish swallow song', and a resource book called The lesson of swig swish swallow. These resources were developed to encourage children to drink water instead of sugary drinks, and to 'swig, swish, swallow' water after eating to reduce tooth decay.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Last updated: 13 April 2016
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