Dental injuries are one of the most common injuries among children. 30% of children experience a dental injury by the age of 14. In children 6 and under, these injuries are even more common, accounting for 20% of all injuries.
While dental trauma doesn’t often result in serious consequences, it can be painful in the moment and sometimes alter the aesthetic of your child’s smile. Familiarizing yourself with the common causes of dental injury in kids is one of the best prevention methods. Below, we’ll detail the most common causes of dental injuries in children.
Biting and Chewing
It’s not uncommon to find a small child chewing on random objects or biting things that might not be suited for their teeth. Even chewing on things like ice cubes and hard candies can damage teeth.
Tooth fractures and chipped teeth are most likely from chewing on hard objects. Extensive cracks in the teeth risk infection in the pulp tissue, gums, and bone surrounding the injured tooth.
If you notice your child chewing on any items, put a stop to it as soon as possible to avoid injury. Be mindful when chewing is a regular occurrence, as it can result in long-term dental problems.
Dental injuries are common among athletes and kids participating in youth sports are just as susceptible. Dentists estimate that 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events every year.
In addition to lost teeth, fractured roots, tooth intrusions, and cracks are common injuries sustained during sports. To prevent these injuries, make sure your child wears a mouth guard, even during practice. For heavy-contact sports like football, hockey, water polo, and wrestling, custom mouth guards are the best option to protect children’s teeth.
A balanced diet is important to dental health. Eating sugary drinks and snacks can lead to cavities and tooth decay over time. Learn which foods can help a child’s teeth over time.
Children also run the risk of tooth injuries while they are eating. Eating injuries commonly occur when kids are distracted during meals, eating items that are hard on their young teeth, and while consuming snacks with sticks, such as popsicles or suckers. Have your child sit down to enjoy their meals and snacks to avoid serious injury.
When children are involved in fights or roughhousing with other kids, dental injury is one of the most common to occur. Hits to the face can knock teeth loose or damage them. If things are being thrown, they are more likely to hit the face and harm teeth.
Tooth intrusion is also common with this cause of tooth injury, because hits to the face often drive teeth back toward the jawbone. This is a more serious injury that requires surgical or orthodontic repositioning and can take several weeks to heal.
Remind your children to never aim for the face when playing with others and break up any fights as soon as possible.
Young children are most at risk for dental injury during falls. Children learning to walk are not as aware of their surroundings and are more likely to hit something on the way down. This can cause teeth to be pushed down into the gums, become dislodged, or chipped.
Falling with something in their mouth is another cause of tooth injury. Common items are suckers, hard candies, and popsicles. Falling with these items can cause the sticks and hard surfaces to hit your teeth at a greater impact, which often results in more damage.
Treatment for Dental Injury
If your child has a tooth injury, there are some actions to take immediately. When their mouth is bleeding, apply pressure to the area. You can use wet gauze to do this if it’s a difficult to reach spot. Give them an icepack or cold washcloth to reduce swelling.
If a tooth is chipped, collect any pieces of the tooth that you can and rinse the mouth with warm water. For any pain, give your child the recommended dose of pain reliever as needed.
When to Call Your Child’s Dentist
For serious tooth injuries, you’ll want to contact your dentist as soon as possible rather than relying on at-home care. Things to look out for after your child injures a tooth are swelling, fever, persistent pain, and a change in tooth color.
If you notice any of these problems, call your child’s dentist as soon as possible. This indicates an infection or a more serious problem that needs to be repaired by a children’s dentistry professional.
Learn more about what steps to take during a tooth emergency.
Dental injuries in children are common, but there are several things you can do to prevent them from occurring. At a young age, teach your child not to run with things in their mouth and not to chew on anything other than food.
If your child plays sports, ensure that they always wear their helmets and mouth guard during practice and games. Teach them appropriate safety measures for active activities, such as not aiming for one another’s heads.
Practicing good dental hygiene is another way to keep their teeth healthy and strong. Proper oral care includes twice a day brushing, flossing, and regular check ups with their dentist.
Keep Their Smiles Looking Bright
At Kentuckiana Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s smile is important to us. We want to ensure that your child has healthy teeth from the appearance of their very first tooth.
We provide a positive experience for both parents and children, helping them learn more about the best dental care. If your child is experiencing a dental injury, we have two convenient locations to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to see them.
Connect with us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about what we offer.