Spring and summer bring on a whole host of activities for children. Parents find themselves rushing from work to soccer game to baseball practice to track meet in a dizzying swirl of activity. The summer can feel like a cycle of uniform washing, waiting for practice to finish and getting the mud out of the car on a sloppy day. One precaution that shouldn’t be overlooked, though, is the way to avoid dental injuries during this period.
Is There Really a Risk?
Some sports expose your teeth to a great deal of danger – such as softball. In terms of injury, that sport seems fairly obvious, as getting hit with the ball can do a lot of damage. Other contact sports also pose their own problems. Soccer players, for example are more likely than football players to sustain a dental-related injury! Since soccer doesn’t require a mouth guard or a facemask, the odds for injury in these places is tremendously higher than for other sports.
Using Mouth Guards
During any contact sport, even just a pick-up game, the players are advised to wear proper protection, especially for those people who have had extensive dental work or braces. Mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injures each year, but there are several types of mouth guards. The cheaper, stock mouth guards are better than nothing, but offer the least amount of protection. The best guards are mouth-formed or custom-made, since they conform to the actual mouth of the wearer and provide the highest level of comfort. Uncomfortable mouth guards are quickly discarded, particularly for children.
Even Non-Contact Sports . . .
But other sports that don’t seem like contact sports can pose similar dental problems. Swimming, for instance, can stain teeth a yellowish to dark brown color from the exposure to chemically treated water. Called “swimmers’ calculus,” a good dental cleaning can remove the damage. Scuba diving can actually create a condition from the changes in air pressure that causes teeth to experience pain or gum tissue problems, particularly if the diver has unresolved or developing tooth and gum issues.
The statistics for dental injuries during sports activities are alarming. But keep in mind, these statistics only include sanctioned sporting events and teams – they do not include, for example, the “pick-up” game on the weekend. If they did, then the numbers would be far higher. Take the proper precautions and enjoy your summer sports!
For more information about how to protect your child’s teeth or to schedule an appointment