Injuries to the teeth and mouth are fairly common with kids. Active lifestyles and contact sports often make mouth injuries an all too frequent occurrence. For very young children, learning to walk is a primary cause for tooth and mouth injuries. Sports injuries are the primary cause of mouth injuries in older kids and adults and these injuries can damage the soft tissue in the mouth, such as tongue, lips, and cheeks, in addition to the front teeth. These injuries can be repaired if addressed soon enough, but prevention is always the best option. Here are a few tips for preventing tooth and mouth injuries in kids.
The most obvious solution to help prevent these types of injuries is to make sure your child wears a mouthguard during sports. Even sports with little to no physical contact can lead to mouth injuries. All it takes is one baseball and a bad catch to knock a couple teeth out. For kids participating in highly physical activities like football, rugby, or hockey, a mouthguard is essential, and often a requirement. While mouthguards are not always guarantees of protecting your mouth and teeth from injury, they can successfully protect teeth from trauma and damage.
These are face masks in the form of a grated cage that are typically attached to a helmet. Face cages are commonly worn in sports like football, hockey (goalies), lacrosse, and baseball (catchers only). In some sports, the face cage may not be very extensive, but may still aid in protecting the teeth and mouth from damage. If your child participates in these sports, a face cage can be a good preventative step against mouth injuries. In most cases where these are not a part of the equipment for the activity, a good mouth guard and helmet are likely sufficient.
Always make sure that your child wears a helmet appropriate for the activity he or she is participating in. Helmets can help absorb a lot of impact and trauma that may otherwise be passed along to the jaw, mouth, or teeth. Sports that require helmets mandate them or a reason, but you should ensure that your child wears a helmet while riding a bike, skateboarding, and other fast paced, potentially dangerous activities. Protecting the head and mouth from injury is possibly the most important preventative measure to take with kids.
Teeth that have been damaged or knocked out can typically be fixed. If teeth have been knocked out, be sure to see a dentist immediately–usually within an hour. Clean the affected area and attempt to replace the tooth. If this is not possible, hold the tooth in place en route to the dentist. This will help improve the chances that the tooth can be reattached successfully. If you lose the tooth or it cannot be reattached, dental implants are possibilities. If the tooth was a baby tooth, there is less of a concern since a permanent tooth will replace it, but you should consult a dentist immediately.