5 Things You Can Teach Your Children to Help Prevent Dental Injuries
Protect your child’s teeth from injury with these tips.
According to research, 30% of children will have experienced some form of dental injury by age 14. With statistics like these, it’s easy to think that dental injuries are inevitable in adolescents. You may think they’re just part of growing up.
However, there is a lot that we can do to help limit and prevent these types of injuries from occurring. It all starts with informing our kids about dental health and safety as soon as they’re able to understand.
Not sure where to start? Today, we’re sharing a few of the most important lessons you can teach your children to help protect their smiles for years to come.
1. Run Smart
First, teach your child about the dangers of running while something is in their mouth. If they were to come to a sudden stop, that object could forcibly enter their mouth, and could even become lodged in their throat.
If that happens, it could impede their breathing, which requires immediate action and medical attention. However, even minor incidents can lead to a significant dental emergency. Foreign objects can deliver blunt force trauma to your child’s teeth, loosening them or even knocking them out completely.
Even baby teeth are important to your child’s overall oral health, and they need to be preserved and protected as much as possible. As soon as they are able to take off and run, teach them how to do so safely and responsibly.
2. Be Aware During Play
One of the greatest things about kids is their wide-open imagination. They can turn a box into a pirate ship and a backyard into a wonderland.
As they get lost in the thrill of innocent play, it’s easy for them to become unaware of their surroundings. The world is so big, and they are so little. They need adult guidance to understand how to navigate their environment carefully and cautiously.
Instead of lecturing them at every turn, make it fun! Consider holding interactive safety classes with your elementary-age children and discuss key things they need to learn and remember as they play, such as how to:
- Climb a ladder safely.
- Watch where they’re going.
- Pick up clutter that could cause a fall.
- Monitor wet or slippery surfaces (especially in the shower or bath).
- Avoid facial contact when playing with balls.
As you go over each lesson, explain why it matters and the types of injuries that they could help prevent. Explain the basics of general dental care, and how these basic steps can help keep their teeth and gums in great condition.
While they’re very little, you may need to take some of these steps into your own hands. Cover sharp corners with soft padding, move tables and furniture out of their path, and pay close attention to their surroundings at all times.
3. Talk About Safe Sports
Sports are a valuable part of your child’s life. They can teach important skills, such as teamwork, dedication, and time management. However, they can also pose a direct risk to your child’s oral safety.
From baseball to bike riding, there are many activities that could cause damage to your child’s teeth and gums if they (or a teammate) were to make a wrong move. Does that mean you should ban sports altogether? Absolutely not.
Instead, take the time to talk to your children about how to play their favorite sports as safely as possible. If they are going to ride a bike or skate on rollerblades, make sure they’re wearing a helmet. This can help shield their face and head if they fall.
In the same vein, discuss the importance of wearing a mouthguard if they engage in any type of sport that could injure their mouth, including both contact and non-contact sports. Explain that you aren’t trying to stifle their fun, but you want to make sure the sport continues to be fun for years to come, and that they don’t associate it with any form of dental trauma down the road.
4. Practice Playground Safety
The playground is an oasis of fun for most children. However, it can also hold hidden risks to their dental safety. From monkey bars and swings to ladders and rock walls, there are many opportunities for them to trip, slip, or fall.
Before you arrive, go over the rules. Remind them to be careful and look out for others when using the playground equipment. If a certain part of the playground is new to them, walk them through how to use it before allowing them to play on their own.
5. Teach Self-Respect
Finally, one of the most effective ways you can help prevent dental accidents is to teach your little ones the importance of loving and caring for themselves.
If they see safety precautions as acts of self-respect meant to safeguard their teeth and bodies, then they may be more willing to engage in them. Despite your good intentions, you could discourage them from putting these tips into practice if you fail to give context for the rules.
Instead of explaining the guidelines and walking away, tell your children that by following your instructions, they can take great care of themselves. In time, they can learn how to take careful and calculated risks that allow them to experience the thrill of adventure without putting themselves in danger.
Play Smart To Avoid Dental Injuries
Childhood is a magical journey. Your little ones deserve to enjoy it all. While you may not be able to shield them from every skinned knee, you can do your part to keep dental injuries at bay.
Talk about these topics, and answer any questions they may have. Practice the safety tips yourself, so they have a great role model to emulate. Then, reach out to us if you need a partner in your corner. We’re proud to offer expert dentistry for children across greater Nebraska. Schedule an appointment today to connect and learn more about our services.