By: Angie Tomlinson, www.thewest.com.au
From being whacked in the mouth with a hockey stick, to taking a mark in the face, through to the classic of running straight into a goal post, children can find all kinds of ways to do dental damage on the sporting field.
But there are steps parents can take to keep their kids’ smiles unscathed and their pearly whites intact in the case of emergency.
Australian Dental Association (WA) spokesperson Dr Mark Foster says a preventative first step is to get a mouthguard custom-made. The mouthguards you buy over the counter really offer little or no protection at all. I have little or no time for those sorts of guards.
Dr Foster likens one-size- fits-all guards to walking into a sports store and getting a one- size-fits-all shoe.
“They don’t fit well and the idea of a mouthguard is when you open your mouth it stays in place. With these over-the- counter ones often they will just drop down as they are only held in position by constantly biting that guard. But when you get a blow to the face people tend to open up their mouths and often the mouthguard falls out or, worst case scenario, it gets lodged down the back of the throat,” he says.
Whatever the injury, Dr Foster advises it be checked by a dentist. Sometimes the most innocent of injuries — they don’t look like much but then when you look at them further it uncovers more problems that haven’t been diagnosed initially.