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One of the most common approaches used by many pediatric dentists is also an effective method for parents to try at home. “Tell Show Do” is a popular technique for managing children’s fears and behaviors during exams and treatments. First, the dentist TELLS the young patient about the procedure using a calm voice. He or she will also explain the steps with uncomplicated age-appropriate terms. In the SHOW phase, the dentist demonstrates what happens next. As long as they can do so safely, children may be allowed to touch or handle the equipment. Finally, when the patient is calm and ready, the dentist will perform (DO) the procedure.

“Tell Show Do” for parents

Parents play an integral role in helping their kids to adopt good oral hygiene habits at home. Parents should be vigilant in caring for their children’s gums and teeth from infancy. These tiny teeth do fall out eventually, but they serve an important purpose. With the “Tell Show Do” method, parents can demonstrate proper techniques and get their children interested in their own oral health.

TELL: Explain how to brush and floss properly, including how often. Tell them how those actions keep teeth clean and healthy. Allow your child to ask questions and keep the conversation positive. Many parents make it fun by explaining that they are working to get rid of “sugar bugs.”

SHOW: Let your child watch as you brush and floss your own teeth. Make sure they see how often you take part in your dental care. If they have any questions, demonstrate on your own teeth when you can.

DO: Help your child brush their teeth at least twice per day. Stick to a regular routine so they know the routine is not optional, but expected. Continue to help your child brush and floss until they are about five years old. Continue to supervise and monitor until your child is around eight years old.

Be a healthy role model for your child, including oral care. Brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist twice per year for cleanings and exams. Teach your children how to follow your lead.

Are you in the Raleigh area? To schedule an appointment for you child, visit us at or call (919) 806-0200.