Mouth and Dental Injuries (cont.)
Many mouth and dental injuries can be prevented by taking the following steps.
- Have regular dental checkups. If your gums and teeth are healthy, you are more likely to recover from an injury quickly and completely. For more information, see the topic Basic Dental Care.
- Use a seat belt to prevent or reduce injuries to the mouth during a motor vehicle accident. Always place your child in a child car seat to prevent injuries.
- Wear a mouth guard while participating in sports. A mouth protector can be made by a dentist or purchased at a store that sells athletic supplies.
- Wear a helmet and face guard in sports during which a face, mouth, or head injury could occur.
- If you wear an orthodontic appliance, such as a retainer or headgear, follow your orthodontist's instructions about proper wear and care of it. Learn as much about your orthodontic appliance as you can.
- Remove headgear and wear a protective mouth guard when playing sports.
- Remove headgear before engaging in rough play.
- Do not eat foods that are hard, chewy, crunchy, or sticky.
- Do not pick at or pull on your braces.
- Use orthodontic wax to protect the inside of your mouth from poking wires.
- Store the appliance in the case provided by your orthodontist.
- If you grind your teeth, ask your dentist whether he or she recommends a mouth guard.
- If you have seizures or other medical problems that may increase your risk of falls, ask your doctor if and when he or she recommends that you use a helmet and face guard to protect your head and mouth.
More steps to prevent mouth and dental injuries in young children include the following:
- Be aware of your child's chance of falling, and take steps to prevent falls.
- When your toddler is using a bottle or sippy cup, have him or her stay seated. Don't allow your child to walk or run with any objects in his or her mouth.
- Never leave a baby unattended in high places, such as on a tabletop, in a crib with the sides down, or even on a bed or sofa.
- Do not leave a baby unattended in any infant seat or "sitting" toy, such as a swing, walker, saucer, or jumper. Use all the safety straps provided.
- Be gentle when placing a bottle or spoon in a baby's or child's mouth. An object that is jammed into the mouth can tear the skin between the lips and gums or under the tongue (frenulum).
- If your child has protruding teeth, have them examined by a dentist. Protruding teeth are more likely to be injured.