Kids are natural athletes. Playing sports gives them a healthy outlet for their naturally boundless energy. Even more importantly, it keeps them active, which is vital for a growing body. If that energy dries up, they just might take root as couch potatoes. Unfortunately, there is a downside to playing sports at any age, and that is the risk of injury. It is estimated that as many as one third of all childhood (and many adult) dental injuries and emergencies arise from athletic activities. In the United States alone, millions of teeth are knocked out every year in sports injuries.

One of the most important elements in playing sports safely is having the right equipment. Depending on the specific activity, various types of dental protection are available:

  • Mouth guards – One of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing tooth, tongue, and lip injuries is wearing a mouth guard. Professional football players use them, preventing an estimated 200,000 injuries annually. You will find ready-made devices in most sporting-goods retailers; however, the ADA recommends obtaining a customized mouth guard from a dentist because a proper fit facilitates better protection.
  • Helmets – When appropriate, a helmet can help prevent dental injuries, as well as many other head and face injuries. They should be worn during any sport where an impact to the head is likely, such as football, hockey, skating, and bicycling. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), sports helmets prevent fifteen head injuries every hour, and save a life every day.
  • Faceguards – Metal or plastic faceguards attached to baseball helmets can lower the risk of facial injury in little league players by 35 percent according to a study, which was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2003.
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Sometimes, even with diligent attention to safety, injuries occur. The most important thing to do is stay calm, and see a health care professional immediately. For head injuries, soft tissue facial injuries, potential broken bones, or excessive bleeding, go the emergency room or your primary physician. For dental emergencies, call Pleasant Dental® at (708) 576-1900 and Dr. Dietrich will see you as soon as possible. Our office is located in Dolton, about five minutes from Riverdale.

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