Do you remember that time the neighbor kid fell off his bike and hit his face on the sidewalk? It was BRUTAL. All the neighbors grimaced and held their breath until everything was checked out, and an “all clear” signal was given. It’s like a youth’s rite of passage.
Kids between the ages of seven and 10, especially those who play baseball or basketball, have the highest number of injuries that affect their teeth. And for those who don’t play organized sports, bikes are the most common reason children injure their teeth.
Since it’s not realistic for us to wrap our kiddos in bubble wrap to keep them safe, nor can we forbid any activity that may result in injury, we have to find ways that will protect our kids teeth while letting them BE a kid.
4 Ways to Help Protect Your Kid’s Smile
#1: Use a mouth guard during sports.
Kids who wear mouth guards are 60 times less likely to suffer damage to their teeth or mouth than those who don’t. They aren’t very popular because kids find them uncomfortable. And while they often aren’t required, most people don’t realize how useful they can be. Luckily, a dentist can make a customized mouth guard to fit more comfortably, and give you information to help convince your child’s sports league to make them mandatory.
#2: Enforce the use of helmets.
Helmets are essential, in sports such as football and baseball, and when riding a bike. The helmet not only protects your skull, it can help reduce the impact that the jaw and teeth take in the event of a fall. And while you’re enforcing the use of helmets, go ahead and add in elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards. You can never be too careful!
#3: Choose their surroundings carefully.
One of the best places for your kids to play, especially when they are toddlers, is on a playground with a shock-absorbing material. The material will help reduce the impact when small children fall, as they often do. If you have a playground in your backyard, consider mulch, or sand underneath for a softer landing.
#4: Talk to them about it.
Kids understand more than we often give them credit for. So, while you are teaching them to wear a helmet and mouth guard, include the reasons you want them to play safely. When children understand why they are being made to do something, their argument usually vanishes.
Children will take their safety more seriously when they understand it. They may also help other children by modeling the right behavior and explaining it to the neighbors in a way they understand.
Do you need a mouth guard for your child? Or have they experienced damage to their mouth while playing? Give my office a call and our staff would be happy to get you an appointment setup.