And just like that, we’re scared of the dentist again.
For young kids, a trip to the dentist can be as scary as a visit from the boogeyman. Still, it’s important for dental clinics to be able to treat young patients and teach them about proper oral hygiene, so many dentists try to have some kid-friendly decor or toys around the clinic to help distract little tykes from their fears.
As a matter of fact, one dentist in Japan even employs a puppet in demonstrating to kids the proper way to brush their teeth. And not just any puppet, but a plush version of Anpanman, the beloved manga and anime superhero with a head made of sweet bean bread who’s been delighting Japanese children for over 40 years.
▼ Anpanman, circled in red
But when Japanese Twitter user @ums_mf’s older brother took his three-year-old in for an appointment, he found that the dentist-enlisted Anpanman isn’t so likely to put children’s minds at ease as it is to cast them into a bottomless chasm of terror.
う (@ums_mf) January 19, 2016
We’re sure those realistically modeled teeth are, medically speaking, the best way to simulate and practice proper brushing technique. But when combined with the puppet’s otherwise abstract, cartoony features, the jarring contrast makes it look like there’s a small but hungry demon that’s taken up residence inside the toy.
And even if the puppet is an effective teaching tool, the dentist really has to ask himself the question of what price he’s achieving this victory at. Sure, it’s great for kids to learn how to brush, but a lot of the benefits that come from that knowledge are going to be undone when they’re all too traumatized to ever set foot in a dentist’s office again.