Sports and Oral Health: How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Getting your kids involved in sports at a young age can help foster their development in more ways than one by allowing your child to explore new interests, stay active, and develop their coordination and social skills.
However, no parent ever likes to receive the call that their child was injured at school or at their sporting event. One of the most common injuries is to the teeth and mouth. The front teeth and soft tissues of the tongue, lips, and inner cheeks. No injury can be avoided entirely, but they can be prevented.
Use a Mouthguard
Encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports such as football, basketball, hocket, volleyball, lacrosse, or wrestling, can help to protect their head, teeth, and jaw from injury.
To combat the discomfort of generic stock mouthguards that you buy at the store, your dentist can often make a customized mouth guard to fit your child’s mouth.
Consider talking to your child’s coach and other athletes’ parents about making mouth guards part of the team uniform. It’s easier to get your kid to wear their mouth guard when all their teammates are doing the same. At the end of the day, it’s much cheaper for parents to buy a mouth guard than to pay for a dental emergency.
Choose Shock-Absorbing Playground Materials
Your athlete’s environment can make a big difference in their risk for bumps, bruises, and knocked-out teeth during play. For field sports, try to find fields that are well-maintained and have plenty of grass. Dry, dirt surfaces lead to harder impacts and can cause more damage to your child’s mouth.
Goal posts and other hard poles should be wrapped in rubber or foam to offer cushioning upon impact. This padding can save your child’s teeth and jaw from injuries if they run into them in the heat of the game.
Teach Safe Play
Beyond encouraging your child to wear protective equipment, it’s important to teach your child how to play safe and avoid potential injuries while they’re on the field. Emphasizing the importance of being a good sport can help your young athlete to refrain from losing their cool and initiating aggressive gameplay that can result in injury.
Your children look to you to provide good examples and plenty of enthusiasm about maintaining their oral health. Here at Foothills Pediatric Dentistry, we are excited to help guide your child in learning how to maintain a healthy smile, which is why we have three convenient offices located in Longmont, CO, Thornton, CO, and Lafayette, CO to serve your family today.