As summer gets underway and kids get more active, including sports, DentalPlans.com is encouraging parents to take steps to protect their children from dental injuries.
Approximately a quarter of dental injuries among children can be attributed to sports, the company said, including those that include impact and speed such as baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, bike riding, and skateboarding.
DentalPlans.com has put together a checklist for parents and guardians to ensure families understand ways they can reduce the likelihood of sports-related dental injuries and how to get kids on board too.
First, get the right mouth gear. Children should wear a mouthguard during contact sports. In some cases, a face shield may be an option, as it protects delicate bones around the eyes, nose, and jaw. DentalPlans.com advises parents to speak to their dentist if they need advice on which gear to purchase.
Dentists also can make personalized mouthguards for children that fit correctly and do not interfere with breathing or cause distractions while playing. Equipment aimed at protecting other parts of the body may be required or encouraged depending on the sport as well.
Next, protect braces. Protective gear is especially important for children who wear braces, DentalPlans.com said, because braces can cut the inside of the mouth during a collision. The braces themselves can be damaged as well. Most orthodontists will recommend that children wear a mouthguard while playing sports to protect their teeth and braces.
Third, get children on board. Encouraging children to consistently wear protective gear can be challenging, DentalPlans.com said, but ensuring the gear fits correctly can reduce irritation and make it more likely they will continue to wear it.
Finally, DentalPlans.com said, parents should be prepared in advance. Treatment for dental injuries should not be delayed, so families should have a dentist that parents and child both trust. Preventing care like checkups and cleanings can help children feel comfortable with their dentist in advance of any unforeseen injuries. Regular dental care also will ensure their mouth is as healthy as possible in the event of a trauma.
“You can take all the precautions, but accidents and injuries can still happen. While the injury may be lessened thanks to protective gear, seeing a dentist as soon as possible will still be vital,” said Jenn Stoll, chief commercial officer at DentalPlans.com.
“Make sure you have an affordable way to pay for your family’s dental care so there are no delays. Consider that you may need emergency or restorative treatments following a dental injury, as well as any follow-up care, your dentist will likely want to see how your child is recovering afterwards,” Stoll said.