When Your Body Attacks Your Teeth: Combating Autoimmune Dental Problems

Facial Injuries and Kids: 6 Tips for Protecting Your Young Ones and Their Mouths

Children love to be active and social, which is why many of them play sports. However, playing sports opens them up to numerous opportunities to suffer injuries to the mouth and teeth. In fact, it is estimated that over three million teeth were knocked out in 2011 during youth sports-related events. Therefore, it is important that parents know how to protect their "babies" from facial and mouth-related injuries. Here are six tips for just that.

1. Wear a Helmet.

Helmets are designed to protect the head from injury and absorb the energy and shock from an impact. However, there are different helmets for different sports. For example, you wouldn't wear a baseball helmet while playing football. Therefore, you need to take the time and effort to locate the most age-appropriate and sport-specific helmet for your child. Make sure that it fits snugly but that it isn't so tight that it gives your child a headache.

2. Protect the Eyes.

Did you know that roughly 90 percent of eye injuries are actually preventable? All it takes is some eye protection, such as safety glasses. You can even purchase safety goggles with tinted lenses to help protect the eyes from harmful UV rays, while also making the glasses a bit more trendy. Keep in mind that you should choose eyewear made from polycarbonate material, as this gear is 10 times more resistant to impact than any other plastic material.

3. Wear a Mouth Guard.

According to the American Dental Association, there are more than 200,000 oral injuries that are prevented each year, thanks to the use of mouth guard. Mouth guards work to protect the teeth and mouth as a whole, including the jaws, tongue, and lips. Having your child wear a mouth guard may be able to prevent a knocked-out tooth.

4. Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More.

Most people know that you can get better at something if you just practice. Well, the same is true when it comes to preventing unnecessary and damaging injuries. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) states that practicing is the key to successfully preventing injuries during sport-related activities. Take the time to learn what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong so that you can improve your game, skill, and form while also reducing your overall risk of injury.

5. Make Sure to Be Safe While Practicing.

It isn't uncommon for adults and children to think that safety gear is not necessary during practice. However, this is not true. In fact, according to Stop Sports Injuries, roughly 62 percent of sports-related injuries actually occur during practice. This occurs primarily because 33 percent of parents with kids participating do not make their child wear the same gear that they would during a full-on game. Therefore, when your child is at practice, you need to make sure that they wear the necessary protective gear from knee and elbow pads to helmets.

6. Stay Hydrated.

Sports take a lot of energy from your child and can often require your child to be in the sun for extended periods of time. A child that is not staying hydrated well enough is not only at risk for a heat stroke, but they are also at risk of becoming distracted by their thirst. This can cause your child to suffer a preventable injury.

If your child plays sports, contact your pediatric dentist, one like Apollo Dental Center, to find out more about oral health injury prevention tips. Don't forget to ask about a custom mouth guard, which should be considered as part of the rest of your protective gear.