As children prepare for baseball, soccer and other spring sports, dentists are urging parents during February’s National Children’s Dental Health Month to purchase mouth guards for their children and moreover, understand what to do should physical contact cause a child’s tooth to be displaced.
Studies show 13 – 39 percent of dental injuries treated in children occur while playing sports with children ages 7 – 11 most at risk.
The best protection, according to the dentists at South Texas Dental, is a properly fitted mouth guard. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates mouth gaurds prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year. Most are priced at around $8-15 and are available in sporting goods retailers and drug stores. How long a mouth guard lasts depends on use, with most typically wearing out after several months of repeated use.
If, however, your child loses a baby tooth, don’t worry; it was going to fall out eventually. Some bleeding is normal. Simply have your child bite on clean folded gauze or a cloth until the bleeding subsides.
In the event a permanent tooth is displaced, South Texas Dental advises parents to take the following steps to save the tooth:
- Locate the tooth immediately and pick it up by the crown, not by the root.
- Gently wash the tooth with water. Don’t use soap, scrub the tooth, dry the tooth or wrap tissue or cloth around it.
- If possible, reposition the tooth in the socket immediately by carefully using your fingers to push the tooth back into the socket.
- If it can’t be replaced in the socket, put it in milk or in the mouth (next to the cheek).
- See your dentist as soon as possible, preferably within 30 minutes to an hour of the injury.