A new study has suggested that watching cartoons could help children to combat dental anxiety.
Research published in Acta Odontologia Scandinavica showed that children offered a distraction in the form of television cartoons were more likely to suffer from dental anxiety than those who had no distraction. Researchers divided a group of 56 children aged between 7 and 9 years old. The children were described as “uncooperative” dental patients. Half the group was shown cartoons, while the other half had no distraction whatsoever. Analysis found that children who had a visual distraction experienced lower levels of distress and anxiety than those without.
Dental anxiety is common among adults and children. For children, the sights and sounds of the dental practice can be unsettling and they may also be worried about suffering from pain when they go for a dental appointment. This research suggests that providing children with visual stimulation, such as cartoons on a TV, can help them to feel more relaxed. The team behind this study has now recommended a larger-scale study.
Combating dental fear in youngsters doesn’t just make trips to the dentist less stressful and and unnerving. It also reduces the risk of dental anxiety in later life. Adults with dental fear tend to visit the dentist less frequently and this increases their risk of developing problems like decay and gum disease.
From seeing the spooky forceps and needles to even smelling dental compounds, 5-8% of patients refuse to seek dental care all together and 20% of patients will only go to the dentist when necessary.
I think I have odontophobia. What can I do to prevent panic during visits?
Easier said than done - practice positive self-talk! Tell yourself “YOU CAN DO IT!”
Make sure to remind yourself “everything WILL be okay.” Your dentist is a professional and is someone you can trust.
Don’t be nervous - speak up to your dentist. Let him/her know when you’re having a rough time. Listening to your concerns face-to-face helps both sides - you and your dentist. Your dentist can help make an ideal and reasonable commitment that makes you feel comfortable because dental health is SO important! Knowledge is power!
Download your favorite podcast, album, or playlist before heading to the office. Distract your thoughts and link the experience to something you ENJOY.
Don’t forget headphones! Your dentist will not be upset if you put your headphones in to distract your thoughts.
Take deep breaths! Think about pleasant experiences in your life to stay calm.
Here at Fabulous Smiles, we have a therapy dog named Bailey that will ease any panic you might have.
You never outgrow your smile!
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