Football may be a “smash-mouth” sport, but protecting kids’ teeth should be a top priority as youths of all ages kick off the upcoming gridiron season throughout Florida.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), sports accidents result in up to 39 percent of dental injuries in children, especially those ranging in age from 7-11 years old, meaning that even flag football players are susceptible to injury.
Here are five ways to score a touchdown for dental safety.
Custom-made mouth guards
Bring your child into the office of a caring dental provider to have a specially-fitted mouth guard made to match the specifications of your child. Custom-made guards fit tightly over teeth and gums offer the most protection for your child’s teeth.
Store-bought mouth guards
If a custom-made mouthguard isn’t an option or you’d like to have a spare around, you can visit your local drugstore and buy a generic guard. They usually come in small, medium or large sizes, which means your child will have to bite down on it to keep it in place. Some sporting goods stores offer boil-and-bite mouth guards that can provide a slightly more customized fit.
Proper dental care
Encouraging and maintaining a consistent dental routine is a great strategy for protecting kids’ teeth not only on an everyday basis, but especially when playing sports.
It’s key to provide your child with the proper nutrition, not only for energy on the field, but to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Healthy teeth are strong teeth, and when your child delivers the big hit, everything will be more likely to stay in place.
Properly fitted helmets
Reminding your kids to wear a helmet while playing football seems like a given, but the real key to avoiding dental issues is to make sure the helmet is properly fitted and features a face guard. It should be new and meet league and team standards.
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), about 80 percent of traumatic dental injuries occur to the two front teeth, an area that is certainly in danger when playing football.