To help your preteen do their best in sports, you might encourage them to eat healthier meals and to get plenty of sleep at night. However, one of the most important things you can for your loved one is protecting their teeth from sport-related injuries.
Some sports can require players to jump over, pursue, and tackle other players. If your loved one is struck in the mouth, then some of their teeth may be knocked out. Even if your loved one still has their baby teeth, the damage caused by the impact can trigger a chain reaction of dental problems.
This post discusses what could happen if your preteen loses teeth to sporting injuries and what you can do to treat and prevent the dental problems that premature tooth loss can cause.
What Are the Effects of Premature Tooth Loss?
Teeth play many roles in keeping your preteen healthy. Teeth allow your loved one to speak clearly and properly in school and in everyday life, and teeth your preteen to eat the healthy meals you prepare and serve each day without choking.
Teeth make it possible for your child to swallow food safely by cutting, dicing, slicing, and pulverizing it into tiny pieces. If your child loses a tooth during a sporting injury, then they can’t break down food properly — which could present a choking hazard if food were to stick or lodge inside your loved one’s throat as they attempt to swallow.
In addition to being a potential choking hazard, premature tooth loss can affect your preteen’s permanent teeth in the future. Teeth can shift or move into empty tooth sockets. The teeth hidden inside the jawbone above the sockets won’t have enough space to erupt. The hidden teeth can cause pain in the jaw over time.
Some children and teens experience malocclusion when their teeth shift. Malocclusion, or poor bite, describes teeth that crowd, lean, stick out, tilt, or turn sideways in the jaw. These teeth can move too close together, or they can develop large gaps between them. The abnormal positions make it difficult to chew food.
One of the results of malocclusion is that teeth can possibly build up with plaque and bacteria. The substances can decay your preteen’s teeth, or they can lead to gingivitis (gum disease). Both of these dental issues can become worse without timely treatment.
The issues mentioned above are just a few of the dental problems your preteen can experience from premature tooth loss. However, with the help of a dentist, you can keep your loved one’s teeth safe during sporting events.
What Protective Measures Can You Take?
If you and your child haven’t been to the dentist in the last six months, then schedule a visit with a dentist near you. A dentist can examine your preteen’s teeth to see if they have any type of injury, such as chips and fractures. Some injuries can hide in the back of the mouth or close to the gum line. If the dentist finds a dental problem, they’ll schedule the appropriate treatment for it.
If your loved one doesn’t have any tooth problems, then a dentist will take steps to keep it that way. One of the most helpful ways to keep teeth safe during contact sports is a mouth guard, also known as teeth guard.
Sports mouth guards are unique devices that cover the top row of teeth. Some athletes wear guards on their bottom teeth if they have previous dental work completed. In any case, guards create a protective barrier or cushion between your preteen’s upper and lower teeth.
A dentist will generally custom-fit your loved one’s mouth guard in the office or in a separate laboratory. Although it’s possible to purchase a mouth guard from your local retail store, the device might not fit or work as efficiently as a custom-fitted appliance. Custom-made guards fit, look, and feel better to patients.
How Should Your Preteen Use and Care for Thier Mouth Guard?
Your preteen should wear their guard during every sporting event, including practice. If your loved one removes their guard for any reason, then they should place the device inside its protective case and not on an unsanitary surface.
In addition, you should clean your loved one’s sports mouth guard as recommended by a dentist. If your preteen is able or willing to do so, allow them to clean the guard during their regular oral care routine. Be sure to dry the appliance thoroughly before putting it away for the day or evening. Moisture can allow germs to grow on the appliance.
Protecting your preteen’s teeth from premature tooth loss begins with a simple mouth guard. If you’re ready to move forward with your loved one’s dental care, then contact our dental team at Valley Oak Dental Group today.