Youth Sports and Dental Safety: How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth on the Field

Back to school season is officially here, and soon many kids will be taking to the field or court to participate in youth sports and other outdoor activities. It’s important to make sure that your child’s teeth are protected in these situations. Sports can get rough and accidents happen. In fact, about 30% of pre-school children have experienced trauma to their primary teeth.

To help protect your child’s teeth while they’re playing on the field, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind.

Wear protective head gear

One of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth while they’re playing a sport is to have them wear the required safety equipment for that sport. If your child is playing football, for instance, whether they’re at school or in the backyard, make sure that they’re wearing a helmet. While helmets are designed to protect the head rather than the mouth, they offer additional protection for your child’s teeth in the event that they fall while running. Helmets should always be worn while playing hockey, football, baseball (when batting), and cycling.

Wear a face cage

Depending on the position your child is playing when they’re on the field, they may require a face cage alongside their headgear. Catchers in baseball, goalies in hockey, and football players all need to be wearing protective face cages on their helmets. Goalies and catchers, in particular, are at greater risk of getting hit in the face with a ball or puck, which can cause significant dental face and face injuries. That said, to protect your child from a nasty injury, make sure they’re wearing the necessary equipment.

Wear a mouth guard

Not every sport requires a face cage or helmet, but many require a mouth guard to protect the player’s teeth while they’re on the field, court, or mat. If your child is participating in wrestling or other contact sports such as basketball, football, hockey, and soccer, a mouth guard can help to protect your child’s teeth from unexpected contact with other players or the ball/puck. In some sports like football, a custom mouth guard is customary to provide your child with the right fit for their teeth.

Promote safe play

Protective gear can’t always keep your child’s teeth safe. It’s important to teach your child how to avoid potential injuries both for their own sake and for the sake of others. Teach your child the importance of being a team player and how to avoid rough playing or making irresponsible sports moves that could themselves or others at risk of dental injuries. Always make sure that your child is supervised while they’re playing, too, to avoid roughhousing.

Keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong

Another great way to prevent dental injuries is by making sure your child’s teeth are strong and healthy. While anyone can be at risk of a dental emergency, teeth that have some sort of decay are more likely to fall out or suffer damage. The CDC recommends that your child brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay. Drinking milk and eating calcium-rich snacks can also help to keep your child’s teeth strong. Visit pediatric dentists regularly to ensure your child is getting the dental care they need.

Can teeth be repaired if they’re knocked out?

If a dental injury takes place and your child’s tooth is knocked out in the middle of a game, their tooth may be able to be repaired. It’s important to visit your pediatric dentists as soon as possible. The sooner you see the dentist after the accident, the higher the chance the tooth can be saved and returned to the socket. Gently rinse any debris from the root of the tooth and hold the tooth in the socket on the way to the dentist. If you can’t keep the tooth in place, keep the fallen tooth in milk until you arrive at your pediatric dentist.

Looking for pediatric dentists in Virginia? We’ve got you covered. Smilez Pediatric Dental Group has the local pediatric dentists you can trust for quality family dentistry. For more information about our dentistry for children, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group.