Keep Your Smile Safe This Summer
Summer smile safety is not just about preventing sports injuries.
What are your kids doing for fun this summer? Whether it's soccer or horseback riding camp, family vacation or just playing at the neighborhood park ― your children's teeth may be at risk of injury. Summer smile safety is not just about preventing sports injuries ― injuries to the teeth also can occur during daily activities. Traumatic tooth injuries range from minor chips and cracks of the teeth to those knocked out of the socket. By taking a few precautions and establishing good safety habits, you may help preserve your children's mouth, teeth and smile this summer.
Mouthguards can be an easy way to protect an athlete's smile from serious injury. A mouthguard is made out of flexible plastic that can be worn during athletic activities and informal play to protect teeth from trauma.
- It is a good idea to get your children used to wearing mouthguards at a young age so they can get in the habit of protecting their teeth for a lifetime.
- Mouthguards are effective in moving the soft tissue within the oral cavity away from the teeth, preventing laceration and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances.
- Mouthguards should be worn while engaging in any activity that places teeth at risk of injury. Accidents happen not only during sports games but also during informal play. And, children should wear their protective gear during practice and warm-ups.
Many summer activities involve activities with wheels such as bikes, skateboards and rollerblades. Check the list below for a few precautions before setting out on wheels.
- Be sure your children have a helmet. Helmets should fit snugly and the safety strap should always be worn.
- Parents should set a good example by wearing a helmet on all biking trips.
- Start to wear helmets early with the first tricycle.
Car Seats and Seat Belts
Summer means family vacations, which often require time in the car. Dental injuries can be prevented by taking a few precautions.
- Set a good example for your children by always wearing a seat belt, and insist that they buckle up.
- Make sure that the seat belts and car seats are in proper working condition and properly installed.
- Infants and toddlers should remain in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 or until they reach the highest weight and height allowed by the car seat's manufacturer.
- Any child 2 years or older who has outgrown the rear-facing weight and height limit for their car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible.
- School-aged children should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
- Do not let your child get out of his or her seat while the car is moving.
Playground or Backyard Safety
Summer weather and family picnics mean lots of playground and backyard activities. Taking precautions may mean fewer injuries when playing on various structures.
- If you need to help your child on to any play equipment, they are not yet ready to play on it.
- Check the equipment for any sharp or protruding objects.
Summer should be a fun time of the year, and with summer activities there are more chances for injuries to teeth. Parents can take precautions to protect their children by providing adequate supervision and safety devices like helmets and mouthguards.
The American Dental Association recommends wearing a properly fitted mouthguard for these and other sports:
- Equestrian Events
- Extreme Sports
- Field Events
- Ice Hockey
- Inline Skating
- La Crosse
- Martial Arts
- Shot Putting
- Water Polo
Protect your children.
Play hard and play safe.
Have a great summer!