Playing organized sports are a great way for children to stay active, learn about teamwork and have fun, but no sport comes without some sort of risk. This is especially true when it comes to contact sports, like hockey and football. However, even baseball, basketball, soccer and other sports traditionally characterized as “non-contact” do have situations that involve increased physicality.
When most think of sports injuries, they tend to think of broken and fractured bones, bruises and scrapes. Parents should remember to protect their kids’ teeth when playing sports, too.
Preventing Dental Injuries
The best way to prevent dental injuries is to protect your teeth while you’re playing.
Helmets are mandatory when playing football, when batting in baseball and while playing hockey. However, make sure that your helmet fits right so that it doesn’t rattle around on your head while playing. Additionally, some adult hockey leagues don’t require players to wear facial protection with their helmets, thereby leaving their faces exposed. We strongly recommend wearing facial protection.
Mouth guards are tasked with the simple, yet important, role of protecting the teeth. They’re made of plastic and come in custom and general varieties. Just be sure to keep the mouth guard clean between practices and games. We always recommend wearing a mouth guard, even if you wear a helmet.
How to Handle Dental Injuries
Even when wearing a helmet and/or mouth guard, accidents can still happen – and while wearing the aforementioned equipment can help greatly minimize dental injuries, it’s still important to know what to do when they occur. Here’s a look at some common facial injuries and how to treat them:
Ice the affected area. If it is bleeding, gently wash the area out with soap. If the issue is severe, contact your doctor to see if stitches may be necessary.
Chipped or broken teeth are common injuries when playing sports. For chipped or cracked teeth, try to avoid chewing or contact in the affected area and see the dentist to have it capped or repaired. If the tooth has been knocked out, store it in some milk, avoid contact to the gum area and see the dentist as quickly as possible to see if it can be replaced.
Jaw injuries are another common injury. If you think the jaw has been broken, get to the hospital immediately. If it’s just swollen from contact, ice it and try to minimize the swelling.
Talk to Your Dentist
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when you’re playing sports of any kind. Helmets and mouth guards can help. For more information on keeping your teeth safe while playing sports, contact Caven Dental today.