Avoid Tooth and Mouth Injuries For Your Child On The Ice This Winter
If your child plans to take to the ice this winter, you’ll want to make sure that he or she is wearing the proper safety equipment to guard against tooth and mouth injuries. Since the majority of dental injuries involve at least one of the front teeth, taking steps to avoid tooth and mouth injuries is very important.
Consequences of Not Wearing Proper Facial Safety Equipment
When players do not wear the right type of head and face protection when they step onto the ice, they put themselves at risk for the following types of injuries:
• Chipped or broken teeth
• Lost teeth
• Jaw fractures
• Mouth and tongue lacerations
Avoid Tooth and Mouth Injuries on Ice with the Right Equipment
The first piece of safety equipment all hockey players should don before stepping out onto the ice is a well-fitting helmet. When shopping for one, make sure that it it certified by either the Canadian Standards Association or the Hockey Equipment Certification Council. Once you bring the helmet home, make a point of inspecting it regularly to ensure that the hardware and screws are secure.
The other piece of equipment required to help protect your child from tooth and mouth injuries is a mouth guard. This is a piece of plastic that fits inside the mouth and is designed to protect the teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw when they are hit by a moving object. There are three main types available:
• Stock. This type of mouth guard is inexpensive and comes in sizes S, M, and L. Some players find that they are too wide in the back and this style makes it difficult to talk.
• Boil and Bite. With this style, hot water is used to soften the plastic and the player bites into the guard to create a semi-custom fit. It offers a good level of protection.
• Custom. For the best protection against tooth and mouth injuries, see a dentist for a custom mouth guard. It is the most expensive type, but the money is worth it if your child plays sports throughout the year or if they have braces. Once a child is 13 or 14 years of age, the mouth guard should continue to fit for as long as the child continues to participate in sports.
Always keep safety in mind when going on the ice. Taking short cuts and neglecting to wear a helmet and mouth guard just open the door to a potential injury.
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