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Summer Trauma Prevention
With summertime comes lots of sunshine, heat, and of course, sports! One of the biggest challenges with kids playing sports is keeping them safe. It is estimated that 30 million children in the US participate in organized sports programs. Sports accidents reportedly account for 10-39% of all dental injuries in children! Children are most susceptible to sports-related oral injury between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Those statistics are scary to me and they should be scary to all parents out there.
Research has shown that wearing protective gear can greatly reduce the chance of injury to children and teens participating in sports-related activities. You might be surprised to learn that many organized sports do not require protective equipment for kids, even though they should. Popular sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and gymnastics are some of the sports that are lagging in implementing required protective gear.
A properly fitted mouth guard is one of the most popular tools to help prevent sports-related injuries to the mouth and teeth. A mouth guard is a flexible device worn over teeth during athletic and recreational activities. Mouth guards act as shock absorbers to keep the mouth and jaws safe when a player is hit in the head or face. This helps protect against chipped or broken teeth, root and bone damage and tooth loss. They also safeguard against more serious injuries such as jaw fracture, cerebral hemorrhage, concussion and neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw jams into the upper jaw.
There are many types of mouth guards out there and choosing the right one is essential. The three main types are pre-made mouth guards, “boil & bite” mouth guards and custom mouth guards. At Ascension Children’s Dental, I typically recommend children use the boil and bite mouth guards when there is a mix of permanent and baby teeth. If all permanent teeth have erupted, then our orthodontist can create a custom fitted mouth guard.
To ensure your child is protected this summer, here are a few tips:
- Ask your pediatric dentist for a properly fitted mouth guard
- Ask your child’s coach if mouth guards are required. If not, find out what steps you can take to make it a requirement
- Educate your child about the importance of wearing protective gear
- If your child should suffer an injury to the mouth or teeth, seek immediate medical attention
For more information on mouth guards or if you have any questions, please visit www.ascensionsmiles.com or call me at (225) 402-4118.