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As specialists in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Tracht, Dr. Briskie, their associates and staff often address parents’ concerns regarding the oral health of their children. Today, we are sharing information about how to protect children who play sports.
April is National Facial Protection Month and we’d like to remind our patients -- as well as parents, coaches and athletes -- to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports this spring and summer.
A child’s mouth and face can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while playing sports. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of the 7 million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by children as young as 5.
In a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), 67 percent of parents admitted that their children do not wear a mouth guard while playing sports and athletes who do not wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth.
The survey also found that 84 percent of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them. However, these same children may be required to wear other protective materials, such as helmets and shoulder pads. Mouth guards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available and not only can they save teeth, they can also help protect jaws. Children wearing braces have slightly higher risk of oral injuries, including mouth lacerations, if their braces are hit by a ball or another player.
An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth and,depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. By wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries can be prevented. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.
Consider these tips before your child hits the playing field:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent injury to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth. They are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury. The staff at Dr. Tracht and Dr. Briskie’s office can make customized mouth guards to fit a patient’s mouth.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.
- Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
- Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
Do you have questions about mouth guards or how best to protect your athletic child? Give Dr. Tracht and Dr. Briskie, specialists in pediatric dentistry, a call or schedule an appointment.
Check out why mouth guards offer more protection for athletes than bubble wrap in this video by the American Association of Orthodontists!
If your child is tongue-tied they have a condition known as ankyloglossia. This happens when the band of skin that attaches to the floor of the mouth, known as a frenum or frenulum, is too close to the tip of the tongue. This band of skin sometimes attaches too close to the gums behind the lower front teeth as well. When the frenum attaches too close to the tip of the tongue, the tongue is not able to move as freely.
Children may not be able to stick their tongue out further than their lips or can’t touch the roof of their mouth. When sticking out the tongue the tip may look heart-shaped rather than coming to a point due to the restricted movement.
So why does it matter of my child is tongue-tied?
Some children have trouble sucking and, therefore, the first problem is noticed when breastfeeding or nursing. Some children may have trouble with certain speech sounds, especially “l, r, t, d, n, sh, th, and z” sounds. Others may develop a lisp. Additionally, these children can have difficulty removing food stuck to their palate or sides of their mouth; they also may have more plaque and tartar build-up. A frenum that is attached too closely behind the bottom front teeth can cause gum recession.
What can be done if my child is tongue-tied?
Some children who have mild tongue-tie may be best treated by careful observation and consideration of speech therapy by a Certified Speech Pathologist. Others may benefit from a minor surgical procedure, called a frenectomy, which can be performed in the office. A frenectomy is done with a special laser that relocates the attachment of the frenum to a more favorable position that frees up the movement of the tongue.
Do you have questions about your child’s tongue-tie? Give Drs. Tracht and Briskie, specialists in pediatric dentistry, a call or schedule an appointment. See here for more information about what we do and how we can help your child.
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