‘Karius and Bactus’ – Two Trolls That Revolutionized Dental Health

Karius og Baktus - forsideIn 1949, the story about Karius and Bactus was published by the Norwegian author Thorbjørn Egner. It is about two ‘tooth trolls’ – and a pun on dental caries and bacteria.

The two trolls live in Jens’ mouth who hates to brush his teeth and refuses to visit the dentist. Karius and Bactus are cheering when Jens eats white bread with syrup, which enables them to beat extra hard into his teeth.

In 1954, the famous puppet filmmaker Ivo Caprino created a short-film about these two trolls. In an over-sized mouth, we see how the two of them lives inside the white row of teeth.

After the book was released, a revolution in Norwegian dental health occurred. Children (and adults!) began to take their dental health seriously, and health-promoting products such as fluoride toothpaste and tablets were launched.

The book has been translated into many languages, and is as popular today as ever.

Some years after the release, Thorbjørn Egner had to adjust the original edition. Many children were upset when Jens decided to go to the dentist and Karius and Bactus disappeared out into the big drain. In the edited version they end up on a raft at sea, in search of a new mouth to move into.

The story of ‘Karius and Bactus’ is one of many famous stories from Thorbjørn Egner. Read more about the author here.

Text and photo by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews

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Categories: Culture, Reading

1 reply

  1. I remember reading this as a little girl. It was one of my favourite books and the first one I could read by myself. 🙂

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