It may seem like an unlikely topic, but we’ve put together the best there is in oral hygiene video gaming. The list goes from modern day games to as far back even before the N64 and Supernintendo, to the days of the Atari 2600. Check out these new and old educational games for yourself, and your kids as well.
Going back to the vintage days of the Atari 2600, Tooth Protectors is a rare game that you won’t find in your everyday video game store. Players are tooth protectors that prevent tiny objects from reaching teeth. The objects are snack pieces dropped by the villain, snack attacker. If the snack piece hits the teeth below the tooth defender, then they will blink and eventually disappear.
If the player gets overwhelmed and teeth begin to disappear, he or she can call in for help using their joystick. Doing so brings in a tooth brush, dental floss, and mouthwash to help save the teeth.
Another Atari game developed by Activision, Plaque Attack, is similar to the popular back-in-the-day game known as Space Invaders. Except instead of wave aliens gradually coming down upon Earth, groups of food such as burgers and fries descend upon teeth. You play a tube of toothpaste that shoots paste at the different types of junk food attempting to reach the teeth.
Once the food reaches the teeth, it begins to break them down until there’s nothing left. After you defeat a wave of food, bonus teeth are given to help replace any you might have lost. The game was developed by Steve Cartwright, in help improve dental hygiene habits.
Spongebob Squarepants Cavity Crisis
In this game Nickelodeon uses popular cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants as a platform for dental hygiene. The game involves the player using their mouse to hold a toothbrush to clean Spongebob’s teeth. If you’re too slow, the teeth become discolored, begin to rot, and eventually disappear.
It helps illustrate to children how tooth decay can occur when teeth are left unattended, and the primary way to prevent this is through brushing your teeth. Using this popular children’s character not only helps appeal to the demographic most prone to cavities, but also gives an educational basis to playing the game on Nickelodeon’s website.
Glenn Martin, DDS. Dental Adventure
In this game players use a mirror or x-ray to find a patient’s mouth problem. Saliva builds up over time so you have to remember to drain it otherwise you lose. You also have to keep track of the patient’s pain meter, displaying how much discomfort your patient is feeling.
You are given anesthetics such as Novocain and laughing gas. However, it’s not as easy as simply administering a pain reliever. You have to check your patient’s information card to see what anesthesia is acceptable, and make sure you don’t give the patient too much or too little of it. Another tool you’re given to sooth your patient is a radio, but you have to check your patient’s information to find what kind of music they prefer.
While you keep up with this multitude of tasks, you are also traveling from city to city across the United States, with some including additional mini-games. It helps players understand the broad range of challenges faced by dentist when it comes to treatment.
The game itself is based off the show Glenn Martin, DDS, which runs in the evenings on Nick at Nite.
Dr. Robert D’Alfonso is the head of Lakeway Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Austin, Texas. Lakeway Cosmetic & Family Dentistry maintains an in-house lab and offers a broad range of procedures involving general dentistry to full mouth rehabilitation cosmetic procedures.