by Dr. Gary Salwin
As a parent, it certainly breaks our heart when we see our child going through a dental injury, which, more often than not, comes with a lot of pain.
Given their typically very active lifestyle, kids are very prone to dental emergencies. They run and jump around on the playground. They could fall off from their bikes. When they’re old enough to play sports, they could find themselves involved in rough play and end up having broken, or worse, knocked out teeth.
Dental emergencies happen all the time, especially to kids. While the very nature of a dental emergency means we cannot predict when and how they will happen, we, as parents, can take active measures to protect them in case something happens. Here are some tips on how to protect your child from dental emergencies.
Help make their teeth stronger
The stronger your kid’s teeth, the more resilient they will be in cases of accidents. Of course, while the end result will still depend on the degree of the impact, strong teeth still stand a better chance of not cracking or getting knocked out easily after lower-impact hits. Strong teeth also mean they won’t be easy prey for bacteria and cavities.
Protecting the enamel in your children’s teeth is key to keeping their teeth strong. Feeding them food rich in calcium, limiting their intake of sugary and citric food and drinks, and teaching them to brush their teeth, floss, and rinse their mouth on a regular basis should help them develop and maintain strong, healthy teeth.
Bringing your child for dental services twice a year would also do wonders for your child’s teeth.
Ice and hard candy should be no-nos
Many kids enjoy chewing on hard candy as well as ice, but both damages tooth enamel. And if they bite down hard, they risk chipping or cracking a tooth or two, which would necessitate a visit to the emergency dentist. If possible, never allow them to make a habit of chewing on ice or hard candy.
Tell them their teeth are not tools
It’s but normal for babies and toddlers to put things in their mouth and bite down on them. Older children, however, do have this habit of using their teeth to open food wrappers or bags. Some of them even do so with bottle caps, and that puts their teeth at risk of sustaining damage. Stop them from doing so and show them how to open things using tools, not their teeth.
Make sure they always wear their seatbelt
When your child is old enough to sit on a regular car seat, you must always make sure that his or her seatbelt is fastened. Something as minor as a fender-bender can be forceful enough to slam a car passenger’s face into whatever’s in front of him or her, especially when taking a nap in the car or caught unawares. With the seatbelt deployed, the risk of a dental emergency is reduced.
Provide them protective gear when biking
Riding a bicycle is one of the greatest joys in a child’s life. Spills, however, happen all the time. To protect them when they fall off their bikes, you should have them use elbow and knee pads, and helmets.
Have them wear a mouthguard when playing sports
Parents are typically thrilled whenever their kids become interested in sports. When they do become active in their sport of choice, always remind them to wear their mouthguard at all times, especially when they’re into football or basketball. Mouthguards protect their teeth in case of impact, of which there is plenty in contact sports.
Prevent accidents at home
It’s a fact that most accidents happen at home, especially ones that have all sorts of clutter lying on surfaces.
To reduce the risk of slipping, tripping, and falling at home, you should keep your home free of clutter at all times. Never leave toys, shoes, school stuff, and other objects lying around on the floor or worse, on the stairs.
Speaking of the stairs, it would be a good idea to install skid-resistant carpet treads on them. That way, your kids won’t easily slip, stumble, or fall even when they’re running up and down the stairs (which you should never allow them to do in the first place).
Many home accidents also happen in the bathroom because your kids can easily slip there. You can reduce the slipping risks by replacing bar soap with liquid soap. When they’re getting their soap from a wall-mounted liquid soap dispenser, the risk of your children slipping on a bar of soap that dropped on the floor is significantly reduced.
In case of power outages at night, install emergency lights that automatically come on when the electricity’s out. No more stumbling in the dark for your kids and all your loved ones means no accidents that could lead to dental emergencies too.
Implement the measures suggested above, and reduce the risks of your children experiencing a dental emergency.
About The Author
Dr. Gary Salwin leads the Glendale Dental Group, Arizona. He and his team treat dental emergencies and perform a whole range of dental services. He has been practicing dentistry for more than 36 years.