SUNDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Children play a lot of
sports and other outdoor activities during the summer and are at
risk for accidents that can damage their teeth, an expert says.
"Collision injuries with a friend, the ground or the side of a
swimming pool definitely increase during the summer," Dr. Stephen
Mitchell, a pediatric dentist at the University of Alabama at
Birmingham, said in a university news release.
"If something like this occurs, remember first and foremost to
make sure your child does not have a head injury," he said. "If
they have lost consciousness or are dizzy, or if they can't
remember how the injury happened, get medical attention and worry
about the teeth later."
Once you're certain there are no medical issues, here are some
tips on what to do about damaged teeth: If a tooth is broken, find the fragment and go immediately to
the dentist, Mitchell said. This is especially important if the
tooth appears to be bleeding from the middle and not just the
gums.If a tooth is knocked out, it's best to try to put it back in
immediately. The gum site is normally numb immediately following an
injury, so this shouldn't hurt. If the tooth can be put back in the
mouth within a half-hour, a full recovery is much more likely.If the tooth cannot be put back in the mouth, however, place it
in milk and go straight to the dentist. Avoid touching the root of
the tooth, and do not clean it beyond gently running it under
water.If a tooth has been moved out of its normal location, make sure
your child sees a dentist immediately.
Mitchell also said summer is a good time to schedule dental
check-ups for children.
"Don't wait until the last two weeks of summer because
appointments can get very scarce," he said. "Plan ahead for the
best flexibility in appointments."
The Nemours Foundation offers tips to keep
children's teeth healthy.