The Fun and Danger of Kids Sports: How to Protect their Teeth While they Play
Sports can be a natural part of any kid’s life. From bicycling to baseball, from soccer to swimming, sports add interest, discipline, and a healthy sense of competition to the life of a child. Unfortunately, athletic pursuits may also lead to broken or lost teeth. In the interest of happy kids and parents everywhere, we are pleased to present a few savvy solutions to protect your child’s pearly whites.
Common kids sports injuries that affect teeth
A fractured or cracked tooth may be the result of a direct blow to the face during sports play. Symptoms of a fractured tooth include sharp pain while biting, pain and discomfort when drinking hot or cold beverages, and intermittent pain when doing neither of the aforementioned. Small longitudinal ‘craze lines’ affect only the enamel and are probably not related to injury. Splits that begin at the crown of the tooth are hazardous to the tooth and should be dealt with by a dentist without delay, note the makers of Colgate toothpaste.
Fractured roots may not be readily visible to the naked eye, but a fractured tooth root can lead to serious pain and rapid tooth loss. When a root is fractured, it may not be noticed until a painful infection occurs. For this reason, it is imperative that a blow to the face during sports be followed up by a trip to the dentist. The sooner a cracked root is dealt with, the better the odds of saving the tooth and your child’s pretty smile.
Tooth intrusion is the opposite of getting a tooth knocked out. This sort of trauma happens when a tooth is suddenly jammed into the gum and jawbone. Tooth intrusion is relatively infrequent and accounts for only a small percentage of childhood sports-related dental injuries. Complications of intrusion include infection, root shortening, and destruction of the tooth pulp.
Protecting kids teeth is more than dietary
Every savvy mom and dad understand the importance of good nutrition that strengthens children’s teeth. Limiting sugary snacks and encouraging daily brushing and flossing are smart ideas. So is a dental guard for every kid that participates in active sports.
Many sports teams require kids to wear custom fitted teeth guards. Look for a guard that’s made of resilient polymer plastic that molds to make a perfect impression of your child’s bite. Some guards may contain a radiopaque marker that makes finding a swallowed guard easier to find, explains a UK dentist.
The preponderance of sport-related dental injuries in children and teens affects the upper lip, maxilla, and maxillary incisors. As many as 90 percent of dental injuries involving maxillary incisors 15,16, and 27. Regular use of a mouthguard device goes a long way toward protecting these important teeth from damage or loss, explains the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Mouthguards were originally invented for use by professional pugilists. Boxers bash each other in the face over and over again, so the introduction of mouthguards to the sport reduces tooth loss considerably. A properly fitted mouthguard can prevent or reduce a range of dental injuries, including luxation, avulsion, and fractures of the tooth crown or root. Mouthguards work by absorbing the energy of an impact and dissipating it over a wider area.
Helmets help prevent tooth injury, too
Not only does a well-fitted helmet protect your kid’s cranium from concussion and collision, a helmet may also prevent chipped, cracked, and knocked-out teeth. Helmets are also recommended to prevent neck injuries. Be sure the helmet fits properly to provide proper protection during boisterous sporting activities, reminds Livestrong magazine.
Regular dentist visits to protect teeth
Parents, please take your child to visit a dentist at least once a year. Twice annually is an even better idea. A dentist has the expertise and equipment to spot oral problems and the tools to deal with cracked, broken, and knocked-out teeth. If you need help finding a dentist near me without insurance, low-cost dental programs and easy-pay dentistry plans are available.
Teach your kids to floss their teeth at least once a day. Brushing is great, but it doesn’t reach the little spaces between the teeth. Flossing is healthful for gums, too, and goes a long way toward preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis.
If your kids are all about athletics, good for them. Sports can be a healthy part of any child’s life. Just be sure to protect their teeth and all will be well.
Author Bio: Leo Irvin works at a family dentist and enjoys sharing his knowledge with an online audience on ways to look after their own teeth and their kids, creating healthy hygiene habits for all.