If your kids are like ours, not only have they gone back to school, but they’ve also started fall sports. Our kids love playing sports and your Raleigh Dentist encourages it. Not only is playing sports a great way for your kids to get some exercise, but it’s also one of the best ways for kids to learn about teamwork; and it’s a super fun way to make some friends. That said, playing sports is not without risk. In fact, young athletes are at a much higher risk of sports-related injuries including dental injuries. Now that fall sports are in full “swing” (see what we did there), it’s time to think about protecting your kids’ teeth as the general cost of fixing a dental injury is almost always more expensive than prevention. With that in mind, today we’ll discuss 3 ways to protect your kids’ teeth during fall sports as well as what to do in the event of a dental injury.
Wear a Helmet!
99% of fall sports injuries can be prevented by simply wearing a helmet. Therefore, if your child plays baseball, football or lacrosse, make sure they’re wearing a helmet – even better if they can wear one with a face guard. In fact, chances are that helmets are required in order to play the sport. These helmets not only protect your child’s brain from getting injured, but they also prevent your child from breaking or losing a tooth since that helmet provides an extra layer of protection. The face child further protects the delicate features of the face, such as your eyes, nose and jaw. All that said, a helmet is an absolute must!
If your kid is playing a sport that doesn’t use helmets such as swimming or soccer, your child may need to wear a mouth guard instead. While not all sports require mouth guard, it’s often encouraged to prevent dental injuries. Even the youngest athletes can accidently run into each other. In fact, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) reports that children who are not wearing a mouth guard are 60 times more likely to suffer from a sports injury than children who are wearing a mouth guard. Unfortunately, those sports injuries usually involve teeth. While many young children are still loosing their baby teeth, so it’s not a huge deal, once your kids have permanent teeth, you absolutely want to protect them.
Fortunately, of all the sports equipment you’ll need to buy for your little athlete, mouth guards are usually inexpensive, especially considering that they prevent children from losing or chipping teeth. You can find them at your local sporting store and most come in a one-size fits all. However, we advise you to only buy those that have the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval since they are designed to protect both teeth and lips. You can also have a custom mouth guard fitted by your Raleigh Dentist. While it might seem like an expensive investment, we promise you that it will cost less than replacing a tooth.
Avoid Aggressive Play
While preventative care is important, it’s also equally important to teach your child the rules and risks associated with any sport they are playing, and how to avoid injury. Tackle football obviously requires some level of aggression, but trying to knock another player out just for the sake of it is not useful. Encourage your kids to be good sports and to avoid overly aggressive play that could result in unnecessary dental injuries.
In case of an emergency…
Even the most responsible parents and kids can encounter a sports injury. Dental injuries in which a tooth falls out are particularly common. In the event of a such an emergency, stay calm (and keep your kids calm). No one needs to panic as most times, it’ll be ok. Here’s what to do if your child’s tooth falls out.
- Hold the tooth by the crown (not the root) and rinse it off.
- Call your dentist.
- Keep the tooth inside water, milk, saliva, or even stored between the lower lip and gum and go to the dentist immediately.
- You can control any bleeding with a cold compress. Apply light pressure.
- If the tooth is clean, you can also push the tooth back into the hole, but do not do this unless everything has been cleaned off well.
All that said, the best way to avoid a sports injury is to stay proactive. Wear helmets, mouth guards, etc. Know the rules. Avoid aggressive play and keep emergency gear near by in case an injury occurs. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call Dr. Katherine E. Garrett and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!