“How to Ensure Your Child’s Dental Protection During Sports”

How to Ensure Your Child's Dental Protection During SportsSports safety is a concern for many parents. Have you ever seen a child slide into home plate or get hit in the face with a ball? Kids love running around, getting dirty and exerting their energy. But that doesn’t mean they should have to suffer the consequences of a sports injury.

Recently, many football players discovered they are suffering from long term head injuries due to untreated concussions that occurred when they were children. With this as a recent concern for athletes, head injury protection is becoming a top priority for children. But dental protection is also very important.

According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury occurring in sports. A hit in the face or a fall can lead to serious oral injury.

There are three types of dental injury: fracture, avulsion, and luxation. A fracture occurs when just a part of the tooth is chipped or broken. An avulsion is when the entire tooth, including the root, is taken out of the mouth. Finally, luxation occurs when the tooth is still inside the socket but was moved into the wrong position.

In order to prevent any of these injuries from occurring, one must take the proper precautions. Having the appropriate equipment is essential. Helmets, shin guards, athletic cups, and knee pads are only some of the protective equipment commonly used by athletes. However, a mouth guard is rarely seen as a mandatory piece of equipment. The use of mouth guards are essential for the protection of teeth. According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, mouth guards prevent an estimated 20,000 oral injuries in the U.S. every year. An oral injury can be detrimental but mouth guards are very useful in preventing these injuries.

If an injury does occur, it is important to take your child to the dentist immediately. Waiting until the activity is over may be dangerous if a loose tooth falls into the airway. Avulsed teeth may be salvaged if they are reimplanted and luxated teeth may be easily realigned if they are treated in a timely fashion.  Any delay may result in permanent loss of the tooth and complicate the replacement with implants or a bridge. If the tooth was avulsed, knocked out, place it in a cup of milk or have the child place it under their tongue during transport to the dentist. Never clean or brush the tooth off. Oral injuries are never 100% preventable, however using a mouth guard is a great start.

If you are looking for a trustworthy oral surgeon in Westchester County for your young athlete, contact Dr. Elias today at (914) 873-0045.

Above photo by Buddpaul