How to prevent dental injuries in kids
With damage to teeth one of the most common sporting injuries in children, it pays to protect their teeth early says dental expert Dr Luke Cronin.
Being active and playing sports is all part of being a child. And for a large percentage of Aussie kids that means playing organised sports at school, after school and on weekends.
While this is great for the physical and emotional development of our children, Dr Cronin warns there are injury risks parents should know about when selecting sports, and protective equipment they should be investing in.
“Sporting injuries are one of the biggest impacts on our kids’ dental health,” he says.
“At around five to six years of age, kids start to play organised sports and it’s natural there will be bumps and knocks.
“At this age we also see the emergence of the permanent teeth that are larger and more prominent than the surrounding baby teeth.
“As they’re larger, it’s usually the permanent teeth that are damaged with cracks, or that are dislodged, and this can commit your child to lifelong dental maintenance.”
- Related: How to prevent dental cavities in children
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Invest in a dental mouthguard
Custom-fitted mouthguards are the best way to protect your kids’ teeth from these types of injuries, the dental expert says.
“A mouthguard made by your dentist will be made to fit your child’s teeth and will be more comfortable, which means they are more likely to wear it,” he says.
And he warns, parents need to watch the high-sugar sports drinks and snacks kids are rewarded with after participating in or watching a game.
“Water is always the best option for hydration, and cut up fruit is a great healthy way to refuel their growing bodies,” he says.
Research your kids’ sports
Dr Cronin says parents should also research the different sports their kids are interested in and the types of injuries that are commonly associated with them.
“High impact sports such as hockey, cricket and skateboarding, where there are objects moving faster than humans, carry a higher risk of concussion. A dentist-made protective mouth guard is highly recommended, as well as protective hard helmet headgear.
“And in body contact sports like rugby, AFL and soccer, which often involves body collisions, we recommend protective mouth guards and soft shell helmets.”
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