4 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Mouth and Teeth Injuries
Mouth and teeth injuries can happen in a moment and completely change the way your mouth looks and functions. Some accidents, including car collisions, are unavoidable, but you can minimize the risk of other injuries.
As the fall sports season begins, pay close attention to teeth and mouth protection measures. One hard tackle or ball to the face can chip a tooth or worse. Here are some protection tips to keep you or your family members’ mouth and teeth safe during any physical activity:
- Wear a helmet designed for the activity. A helmet can go a long way towards protecting your head, jaw, and mouth from injury during many activities. Encourage all contact sports players to wear helmets during practices and games to prevent accidental injuries. In addition to team sports, individuals should wear helmets while riding a bike, skateboarding, and skating.
Some helmets may provide more protection for the oral-maxillofacial area than others. For example, football helmets and hockey goalie helmets incorporate face cages that provide additional protection.
- Invest in a mouth guard. Mouth guards protect the teeth, lips, and tongue. Your local oral surgeon may offer customized mouth guard fittings. In addition to a professionally made mouth guard, sports players can purchase a mouth guard kit from most major sporting goods stores. Work with your health care provider to find the solution that will work best for your mouth structure and needs. Mouth guards are particularly important for those with orthodontic appliances, implants, or bridges.
- Schedule a checkup at the start of the season. Keeping teeth healthy plays a major role in injury prevention. Cavities and weakened enamel may increase the risk of accidental and sports-related injuries. Schedule any teeth strengthening treatments, such as surgeries, prior to the season. Talk with your surgeon about protecting your teeth. Always use good dental hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing, as recommended.
- Other protective measures. In addition to preparing for sports, individuals should follow basic safety precautions during daily activities. Wear a seat-belt in any vehicle that offers one. Avoid chewing on ice and other hard substances.
Accidents may happen under the best circumstances. Knowing where to go in the event of an emergency can improve the likelihood of successful intervention. For knocked or pulled-out teeth, try to schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon within 30 minutes of the incident.