Today children can benefit from digital devices that previously were reserved for their parents. Not only can smartphones and iPads capture photos and videos, create shopping lists, and serve as alarm clocks, they can also take some of the angst out of a child’s oral health regimen — and perhaps even cut down on emergency dental visits.
An app is computer software that’s designed to perform a single or multiple related tasks. Numerous apps are downloadable to an iPhone or iPad through the Apple Store. Many applications are free; others are free to download but require a paid upgrade or annual subscription for full functionality.
Though by no means comprehensive, here are three free apps that can make brushing and oral hygiene more fun, educational, and convenient for your children.
Made by Aquafresh, Time2Brush is geared toward children under age 7. With a few clicks, the fun starts with a pea-sized squirt of toothpaste — called a Nurdle — while providing your child directions about how to brush all sections of his or her teeth.
A timer counts down for two minutes while a catchy song plays. Two minutes is the time limit because that’s how long is recommended to brush your teeth thoroughly. For every brushing he or she completes, your child earns points that can be used to customize his or her Nurdle. Multiple Nurdles can be collected, so everyone in your household can also join in the fun.
2. Monster Mouth DDS
Monster Mouth DDS turns kids into junior dentists in order to acquaint them with dental problems — such as finding cracks when they may be ready for clear braces, or extracting teeth with prongs.
As a dentist for monsters, your child will journey into the cavernous mouths of ENORMOUS monsters in order to solve their dental problems before their mouths can slam shut! The app teaches children empathy towards their “monster” patients, because if they cause the patient any pain, the game is over.
This app uses creative animation to entertain your child while teaching him or her how to care for teeth. The app is divided into four sections designed to instruct young users about basic tooth care.
They are “Explore,” “Conditions,” “Learn,” and “My Teeth.” The cartoons and interactivity teach users about cavities, early tooth loss, abscessed teeth, broken teeth, late loss of teeth, and gum disease. The feature called “My Teeth” allows children and their parents to input data into a calendar pertaining to significant events, such as losing the first tooth.
Children can also use emoticons to select “How they feel” about a given event. Additionally, users can use their iPhones or iPads to take pictures and share this information via email.
Restorative dentistry for children
Restorative dentistry involves repairing the natural tooth that has been damaged or decayed. CowdenFamilyDental.com is an online resource for those that want to learn more about obtaining the best oral health for children.
Dr. Cowden is certified for Invisalign dentistry for children and adults who prefer invisible braces to help straighten their teeth. Appointments can also be made to visit the doctor in his New Mexico office.
Infants and children are not immune from oral health problems. A report from the Surgeon General in 2002 found that dental caries (tooth decay or cavities) is the most chronic childhood ailment: five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.
The apps outlined above will help in acclimating your child to the necessary world of dentistry while reducing the “fear factor” often associated with dentist visits.