Tooth Protectors is a rare Atari 2600 video game that combines entertaining gameplay with a dental health theme. The gameplay shares similarities with Activision’s Kaboom!, requiring players to catch falling objects by positioning their character underneath them.
In Tooth Protectors, the objects are small “snack” squares dropped by the “Snack Attacker,” a menacing face moving horizontally across the screen’s top. The player’s character is a small smiling face carrying a strand of dental floss above its head. The goal is to prevent the snack squares from reaching the white teeth at the bottom of the screen, as repeated hits by the snacks cause the teeth to decay and eventually disappear.
Occasionally, the Snack Attacker will dive towards the player in an attempt to grab them. If successful, the player loses a turn. To counteract tooth decay, the player can press the joystick’s fire button to summon the “Tooth Protectors” – an orange toothbrush, green box of dental floss, and purple dental rinse bottle. These items move across the teeth, brushing, flossing, and rinsing them to restore their condition.
Interestingly, the instruction manual included with the game concludes with “The Real Tooth Protectors,” featuring advertisements for Johnson & Johnson-branded toothbrushes, dental floss, and dental rinse. This unique combination of gameplay and dental health promotion makes Tooth Protectors a memorable and rare Atari 2600 title.