Sports have a lot of benefits for kids. They learn teamwork through sports, stay active and make friends. For all of the benefits, there’s one downside that shouldn’t be ignored, sport-related injuries. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out each year in kids playing sports. Keeping your child’s teeth protected when he or she plays sports, not only protects them against injuries but it also protects your pocketbook. Here are some proactive ways to manage the risk of injuries to your child’s mouth.
Wear a Helmet and Other Protective Equipment
Some sports mandate the use of protective gear to reduce the risk of injury to the head. Kids being kids, they may not always use the right equipment when they’re playing on their own. It’s up to the parents to make sure kids always use helmets when they skateboard or ride a bike. If the helmet is in an accident, you need to replace it. Have knee and elbow pads available. While these won’t protect their face, it will reduce injuries to your child’s body.
Use a Mouth Guard
Mouth guards are an effective way to protect the teeth and jaw from injury. About two-thirds of children don’t use mouth guards. Some say it’s uncomfortable, while others just don’t think about it because there are no rules mandating it. Your dentist can make a customized mouth guard that fits your child’s mouth, eliminating discomfort. Ask your coach to make mouthguards part of the uniform.
Prioritize Safety During Play
When kids play sports, make sure the coach and other adults emphasize the importance of being a good sport. Kids shouldn’t play aggressively or irresponsibly. Does the coach make sure everyone is wearing their safety gear before play starts? How does the coach actually coach? Do the coaches make sure kids warm up before they get on the field?
Look at the environment where your child is playing. Is the field well-maintained with plenty of grass to soften falls? Are the goal posts foam-wrapped to cushion the impact if kids run into the pole during gameplay? Is the surface of the playground designed to be soft on impact?
Protect Your Child’s Teeth
No one wants to stop a game to send someone to the emergency room. The more you do proactively to take care of your child’s teeth and body during sports, the fewer injuries you’ll face. Talk to your dentist about protecting your child’s teeth during sports.
Resource: Dental Care