Watching cartoons whilst receiving treatment could help reduce children’s dental anxiety and distress, a new study has shown.
The study, published in Acta Odontologia Scandinavica, randomly assigned 56 ‘uncooperative’ children aged seven to nine either a visual distraction (eg watching cartoons via an eyeglass system) or no distraction, and it found the children who were distracted with cartoons showed significantly less anxiety and more cooperation than those with no distraction.
The authors conclude that audiovisual distraction can be a useful technique to calm children and ensure that they can be given the dental treatment they need, before recommending larger studies are carried out to confirm the results.
Dental phobia is very common, with around 20% of school-aged children afraid of the dentist, the study estimates.
It claims children with dental phobias experience more dental pain due to being more disruptive during dental treatments.