Health + Fitness
Tips for Keeping Your Kid’s Mouths Safe During Sport
When it comes to sports, children are often more keen on having fun than being safe. As a result, injuries are relatively common. Most children get fractures, bruises, cuts and blunt injuries from contact sports. Aggressive contact sports like rugby and martial arts have the highest incidences, while non-contact sports have lower injury rates.
Common Dental Injuries
Dental injuries are among the most frequent sports injuries. Cracked teeth account for the majority of sports-related dental injuries. They present with sharp intermittent pain that gets worse with biting down. You can also lose a section of the enamel and expose underlying layers.
If teeth are struck at a specific angle, they may get fractured roots. This is a crack that develops from the root of the tooth. Fractured roots are inconspicuous and only become symptomatic if an infection develops. The sooner a patient receives a root canal, the less likely their teeth will develop necrosis.
Trauma to teeth can also present with an intrusion. This is an injury where teeth are driven back into the jawbone. Intrusion results in necrosis, shortening of the roots and fusion of the tooth’s root with the alveolar bone. It’s common in baby teeth since children’s alveolar bones are soft.
Injury to teeth in children has immediate and long-term consequences. Immediately following dental injuries, children can experience severe pain that may persist and interfere with their daily activities. Pain can interrupt sleep and feeding, resulting in irritability. Some injuries can lead to the loss of teeth. Fortunately, permanent teeth grow back to replace lost baby teeth. The only drawback is the early loss of baby teeth may interfere with dentition.
Dental injuries also leave teeth vulnerable to infections. Since cracks and fractures expose the inner layers of a tooth, infection can easily spread and quickly get complicated. Gum diseases are also common. Aside from physical symptoms and complications, dental injuries may result in psychological problems. Since injury can cause poor dentition and alter a child’s smile, social anxiety and low self-esteem are likely to develop.
Although dental injuries in sports are common, they are ways to avoid them. Here are some tips for keeping your kid’s mouths safe during sports:
Mouthguards are dental appliances that cover teeth. They are used in contact sports, obstructive sleep apnea, and TMJ disorders. The primary function is to protect teeth from physical injury. Sports mouthguards are recommended for all contact sports, including boxing, wrestling, football, basketball, hockey, and rugby. They greatly reduce the risk of chipped and avulsed (knocked out) teeth.
There are primarily two types of sports mouth guards; store-bought and custom-made. Store-bought mouthguards are cheaper and often come in two options. The stock option is worn straight out of the box, while the boil-and-bite guard can be customised before application. Unfortunately, store-bought mouthguards are not as effective as the custom-made options. Custom-made mouthguards are designed and fitted by dentists, making them more comfortable with effective protection.
Wear the Other Protective Sports Gear
Some contact sports have special protective gear as a standard requirement. These include helmets, head guards, and padded gloves. The gears reduce the intensity of direct impacts, including impacts to the jaw. They are great for protecting your child’s mouth and minimising the risk of other injuries. Children should wear protective gear at all times, including training sessions.
Play Under Supervision
Although the risk of injury is high during contact sports, some accidents are avoidable. Playing under adult supervision reduces the risk of injuries significantly. Experienced referees, coaches and trainers ensure children learn and practice safe techniques. Furthermore, situations that can easily escalate and pose a physical danger to the children are averted if a supervisor is present.
Studies show the risk of injury in contact sports reduces significantly at higher proficiency levels. Therefore, the more your child trains, the less likely they will get injured. Enrolling your child in good training programs allows them to have fun and stay safe.
If you follow these tips the risk of dental injuries in sports amongst children can be managed. They are simple but highly effective.