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Safety Guidelines to Prevent Dental Injuries and Trauma

22 April 2015, Joshua Hong DDS

Safety Guidelines to Prevent Dental Injuries and Trauma
Dental and mouth injuries are very common. About 80% of them affect one or several front teeth, which causes damage to the gums, tongue, inner cheeks and lips. For kids below 3 years old, injuries of baby teeth often result from learning how to walk. However, sports injuries still top the list of the causes of mouth and tooth injuries in both adolescents and adults.
Preventing mouth and teeth injuries is as vital to good oral health as personal dental care and regular dental checkups. Take these simple dental precautions to avoid trauma and injuries. 
 
For Kids: 
 
Parents play a huge role in keeping their kid’s teeth clean and healthy. Daily oral hygiene and proper eating habits can prevent cavities. Below are some tips on how to prevent injuries.
 
1. Babies put anything inside their mouth, so keep hard things that may crack their teeth away or out of their reach. 
 
2. When driving a car, always put them on infant car seats as well as a properly fitted seat belt for older kids. 
 
3. Children are prone to fall when they start learning to walk. Always check their mouth for breaks, missing teeth, loose teeth or cracks and take them to the dentist if you suspect any of their signs. 
 
4. If you kid plays outdoor games or any contact sports, you may ask your dentist regarding mouth guard or mouth protector to prevent dental trauma. Mouth protector or mouthguard serve as a cushion to avoid neck injuries, concussions and broken jaw. Tell your child to wear it at all times it will turn into a safety habit. 
 
Mouthguards come in three types – the stock mouthguard, custom-fitted and boil & bite mouthguard. 
 
Stock mouthguards  - they are cheap and are ready to wear. However, this type is bulky, making it hard to talk and breath. 
 
Custom-fitted mouthguards – are personally made by your dentist. They provide a better fit but are more expensive. 
 
Boil and bite mouthguards – they can be found at sporting goods shops. Because they can be softened in hot or warm water, they can easily fit to your mouth’s shape. They provide better fit than the stock mouthguard. 
 
For Adults: 
 
Here are some tips on how to avoid common adult dental emergencies and injuries:
 
1. Use scissors to cut thread or tape and not your teeth. 
 
2. Don’t attempt to chew hard objects that may crack your teeth such as hard candy, ice or popcorn kernel. 
 
3. Always wear mouthguard when doing sports or any recreational activities to lower chances of damage to your lips, cheeks, tongue and teeth. 
 
To prevent sports-related mouth and tooth injuries, it is important to wear protective equipment such as:
 
Face cages – this equipment can protect your face against trauma, particularly when playing specific positions such as hockey goalie or baseball catcher. 
 
Mouthguards – the best way to protect the mouth and teeth is to use mouth protectors. 
 
Helmets – always wear one especially made for the sport you are in. While most helmets won’t protect your mouth, they protect a very important area – that is, your head, against brain concussion. 
 
In case of knocked-out teeth, the good news is, it can be repaired. Knocked-out teeth can be saved when returned to the socket (by the dentist) within an hour of being knocked out. But regardless if your tooth can be saved, there are plenty of advances in dentistry – a dental implant, for instance, that can be used to aid in chewing, biting as well as for aesthetic reasons. 
 

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