As much as summer sports are excellent for your physical and mental health, injuries do happen. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. If you didn’t break your arm while playing outdoors as a kid, surely you know someone who did.
But, what are the most common injuries to the face? If you said black eyes, try again—tooth trauma (including losing teeth) is actually the most common summer injury above the neck. Other common injuries include cuts to the lip and bloody noses.
Is there such a thing as a risk-free sport?
Unsurprisingly, some sports come with a higher risk of teeth injuries. Among the most hazardous summer sports for teeth are tennis, soccer, beach volleyball, outdoor basketball and football—in other words, the sports with flying balls. Just one simple mishap can lead to losing a tooth or breaking your jaw.
No matter how fun it is to get lost in the game, know what to do in the case of injury. Most accidents won’t be your fault, and so playing carefully isn’t enough. The only real way to avoid injuries to your teeth this summer is to not play summer sports at all, which no dentist would ever want to recommend.
So, what should you do in case of injury?
Some people win matches, others lose teeth. In the case of trauma to your teeth, see your dentist as soon as possible—especially if a whole tooth has come out. Store any whole teeth in water or milk until you make it to the dentist so they can be safely (and successfully) placed back in their spots. Knocked-out teeth should be replaced within a couple of hours, and usually will take few weeks for to stabilize. On the other hand, if your tooth broke, your dentist will have to design dental cups or non-metal crowns.
Should I always wear mouth guards? Even in non-contact spots?
The Academy for Sports Dentistry was formed in 1983 with the aim to protect sport players and to promote communication between dentists, doctors and coaches. Along with their injury prevention goals, the Academy recommends the consistent use of mouth guards. You can find standard mouth guards over-the-counter, which should be just fine for most summer outdoor sports. However, if you are a professional or competitive player, consider a personally-designed mouth guard crafted by your dentist. As compared with the generic guards, a personalized guard fits your teeth perfectly and doesn’t move when you experience a fall or hit. This makes them not only more comfortable, but safer and more effective.
Non-contact sports like tennis are less risky than contact sports—but that doesn’t mean injuries don’t happen. Whenever there’s a chance to take a ball to the face, or fall to the ground, mouth guards are the simplest and smartest way to protect your teeth. Just remember—playing safely only goes so far, because accidents can always happen. Just have your plan in place, and do what you can to keep your teeth where they belong!