Kids and sports sound like a formula for disaster waiting to happen. Children are natural thrill-seekers and often don’t understand the dangers that can arise when participating in sports.
In a particular study, researchers observed 62% of the 1,020 players studied sustained dental injuries from an unorganized sport. Moreover, 59.6% of these dental injury cases were from children aged seven to 12.
Interestingly, less than half of the studied participants wore mouthguards, and only two sustained dental injuries, indicating their effectiveness in protecting against dental injuries.
Sports are vital to helping children develop a strong body and disciplined mind. However, if your child is participating in any of the following activities, you should consider taking extra precautions to protect their teeth:
● Martial arts and boxing: Fighting arts are excellent for teaching your children discipline and self-control. However, always ensure your child wears protective gear during sparring matches.
● Stick or bat games: Athletic games like lacrosse, hockey, and baseball require players to run around with sticks in their hands. This increases the chances of accidental contact between sticks or bats and your child’s face.
● Football: American football is popular among children and can be incredibly fun. However, it’s also one of the most dangerous sports in terms of dental injuries. Sometimes, players may not even realize they’ve been hit in the mouth until after the game has ended.
● Ball games: Basketball is a popular competitive and close-contact game requiring players to move quickly and make quick decisions. This increases the chances of accidental contact with another player’s body or head, leading to dental injuries.
As a parent, you shouldn’t keep your child from pursuing their passion and keep them participating in the sport they love. The key is to give them ample protection to prevent unwanted accidents. Here are some ways you can protect your child from sports-related dental injuries.
● Helmets: One of the obvious ways to keep your child’s face from injury is to have them wear a helmet. Helmets are necessary for sports like hockey and baseball and can also be used in other risky sports, such as snowboarding and skiing.
● Mouthguards: Mouthguards are incredibly effective in reducing the chances of dental injuries. Even professional competitive players use them to prevent dental and mouth trauma. The key to choosing the right mouthguard is to ensure it’s a perfect fit.
● Rules and Risks: The first two points refer to safety equipment to reduce the likelihood of dental injuries in sports. However, it’s vital to only allow your children to participate in regulated sports and teach them about good sportsmanship and the risks associated with different activities.
Mouthguards are available in various forms and styles. There are three primary types of mouthguards:
● Stock: Stock mouthguards are often called “ready-made” because they are pre-shaped and don’t require any customization. This offers the least protection because they don’t fit your child’s mouth perfectly.
● Mouth-formed: These mouthguards are also called boil-and-bite mouthguards because of the slight customization they offer. The dentist will boil a plastic mouthguard and have the patient bite and suck on it to fit their teeth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards provide a false sense of security, as the fit loosens over time and is easily damaged by biting.
● Customized: The best type of mouthguard is a custom-made one. These mouthguards are created with exact molds of the patient’s teeth and are designed to provide maximum protection and durability.
Accidents happen, and not all injuries can be prevented. So what should you do if your child experiences a mouth or dental injury?
Call a pediatric dentist ASAP: If your child has suffered a dental injury, you should immediately call a pediatric dentist. This will help prevent further damage and ensure prompt medical attention is given to the injury.
Apply pressure to the area: For an immediate remedy, apply pressure to the site and have your child rinse their mouth with warm salt water. This helps reduce swelling, bleeding, and discomfort.
Offer an ice pack: Cold helps reduce swelling and pain, so it’s vital to offer an ice pack or an ice pop to help manage the pain.
Give pain reliever for unbearable pain: If the pain is too much for your child, you can give them over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
As a parent, we must help our children explore the world and all its possibilities. However, this often means exposing them to pain and risks. That said, there are ways to reduce the chances of dental injuries in sports and ensure your children enjoy their sports with minimal risks.
Mouthguards are an easy tool for you to help protect your children’s teeth and facial structure from the dangers of kids’ sports. Get your child set up with protection today at Bay Area Kids Dentist. The board-certified pediatric dentists at Bay Area Kids Dentist are ready to provide your kids with a positive, fun and educated dental experience. Contact us today for a consultation or appointment.