ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - He's big, he's grey and he's on a mission to fight sugar bugs. A storybook character came to life Thursday at a Jackson County school. He showed more than 700 students how to save their smiles.
"How many of you brushed your teeth this morning? All right," the speaker said as hands shot up.
The show started with a book about a hippo bracing for his first visit to the dentist. The excitement continued to build as the star of the story appeared on stage at St. Martin North Elementary School.
"It was awesome," said kindergartner Ava Businelle.
"I thought, wow. He's really funny," said kindergartner Megan Jellum.
Bippo the Hippo and the staff at Pediatric Dental Specialists visit one school a day in February as part of National Children's Dental Health Month.
"It shows the children on their level a bigger than life character, and they can see through him that he, as they do, need to take care of their teeth," said Jaye Brice, Pediatric Dental Specialists Office Manager. "I love it. Each time they get excited, it's a thrill to me."
Bippo teased the students and danced with a few children, but all the silliness came with a serious message.
"Always take care of your teeth, because so they don't get black and fall out," said Ava.
When asked to explain a cavity, Megan said, "It's like food in your teeth and stuff. It's yucky."
Anthony Smith realized the importance of protecting his pearly whites. He recently lost a front tooth.
"I got a bottle of Kool-Aid, and I tried to open it. Then it got wiggly," Anthony said.
Bippo encouraged the children to brush-up on their dental hygiene skills, so they can build a healthy smile.
Along with visiting schools and daycares in February, Bippo the Hippo and his friends also invite families to tour the Pediatric Dental Offices in Biloxi and Ocean Springs.