After Team GB Hockey star Kate Walsh suffered a serious facial injury during the Olympics, a leading oral health charity believes it serves as a timely reminder for those requiring mouthguards to get fitted up.
Mouthguards are an essential piece of kit when it comes to playing sports that involve physical contact. The British Dental Health Foundation is advising parents whose children play contact sports to get their child fitted with a mouthguard to help protect against unwanted accidents.
It is estimated 40 per cent of all mouth injuries can be related to sports. Minor dental injuries can include a chip or crack in the tooth. Athletes can also lose teeth and suffer damage as the result of biting the tongue or the cheek. Biting the inside of the mouth can also lead to cuts that may require stitches. Fractures of the upper and lower jaw, cheekbones, eye sockets or any combination can have more serious consequences.
Karen Coates, dental helpline Advisor at the Foundation, said: ‘While mouthguards may not protect against concussion or have any impact on its severity, they can reduce further oral health complications.
‘If your child plays football, rugby, cricket, hockey or rounders, or any contact sport then they will need a mouthguard.
‘Although you cannot get mouthguards on the NHS, the Foundation recommends you talk to your child’s dentist. A mouthguard needs to fit the mouth exactly and protects teeth and gums properly.
‘Each mouthguard is fitted individually so you should constantly review them to make sure it is still fit for purpose as your child develops.’
For a lost tooth, Karen offers the following tips for a speedy recovery:
Firstly, if you can find the tooth and it is clean – put it back into the socket yourself
Put the tooth straight into a cup of milk or keep it in your mouth
Do go to a dentist or hospital as soon as possible.
Do take painkillers if necessary
Don’t hold the tooth by the root, as teeth are surrounded by fragile ligaments which need to be kept intact if the tooth is to be replaced
Don’t put the tooth in ice
Don’t clean the tooth with disinfectant or water or let it dry out
Don’t put aspirin or clove oil on the wound
If you have not managed to do it yourself, the dentist will put the tooth back.
If you need any further advice please visit the Foundation’s ‘Tell Me About’ section to find out more about cracked teeth and mouthguards.