Participating in sports is a great way for your child to develop valuable social skills, learn the importance of teamwork, and incorporate exercise into a daily routine.
Although sports are meant to be fun and rewarding, youth sports injuries can and do occur, often involving the mouth and teeth. Whether a blow loosens or cracks a permanent tooth, or even knocks it out, the best course of action is to bring the child in to the dentist as soon as possible.
It’s far better, though, to do everything you can to prevent the injury.
Start by educating yourself and your child about the importance of dental safety during sports. As always, My Family Dentistry is here to help – here are a few of our best tips on preventing and treating youth sports injuries to the teeth.
Take Preventative Safety Measures
Purchasing a mouth guard is one of the best possible measures a parent can take to protect a child’s teeth during sporting events. Your child’s dentist can create a custom-fitted mouth guard, or you can purchase a mouth guard at your local sporting goods store. While both options are good, a custom mouth guard provides the most protection, because it fits your child’s mouth and teeth perfectly and will have less “wiggle room.”
Other forms of protection are also available, including facemasks, helmets, and face protectors. Each can help minimize the risk of injury, often in combination with a mouth guard. When buying protective sports gear for your child, make sure it fits properly and comfortably, and that they can move and play normally while wearing it. This way, you’ll know that the equipment will both allow your child to participate in his or her sport, and protect them in the event of an injury.
Educate Your Child About Dental Safety
With summer on the way, many children are looking forward to attending sports and outdoor camps, summer sports leagues, and other similar activities.
Since you may not be nearby in the event of an emergency, you’ll want to teach your child a few valuable tips they can rely on if they damage or knock out a tooth.
When a child’s permanent tooth is knocked out, it begins to die within about 15 minutes, so immediate action must be taken to prevent it from drying out and dying. After locating the missing tooth, hold it only by the crown (avoid touching the root). It should be carefully rinsed using clean water to remove any dirt or debris that may have collected on its roots. Rinse out the child’s mouth as well, and reposition the tooth in the mouth, having the child bite down on a clean cloth to hold it in place.
If that’s not possible or it’s too painful for the child, the tooth should be placed in milk, saline, or saliva, or even held in the child’s mouth to prevent its root from drying out. Avoid storing the tooth in plain water. Your child’s coach or supervisor should then immediately contact you and your child’s dentist to replant the tooth while it’s still alive. Providing your child’s caretakers with your dentist’s information is a good way to ensure prompt treatment in the case of tooth loss.
By following these easy safety measures to minimize the risk of sports-related injuries, you can rest a little more easily, knowing that your child’s dental health won’t be in jeopardy. Here at My Family Dentistry, we know that choosing the right sports equipment and learning a few valuable tips in case of youth sports injuries will allow your child to enjoy the many positive benefits that an active lifestyle has to offer.
Want more help teaching your kids healthy dental habits? Download our free coloring book!
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