Playgrounds: Site of tooth traumas?

Parents may not realize how hidden dangers of certain summer activities can also affect teeth

School’s out and summer is here, attracting swarms of children to flock to outdoor activities. Yet, parents may not realize how hidden dangers of certain summer activities can also affect teeth, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

“In the summer, accidents that cause tooth injuries occur mostly from falling off playground swings, diving into shallow pools, baseball, skateboarding, in-line skating and bicycling,” says Lawrence Bailey, DDS, FAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry.

Most people don’t know that:

  • For ages 0-4, playground injuries to the brain and face account for nearly 60 percent of all injuries
  • Every two-and-a-half minutes, a child is injured on a playground in the United States
  • Approximately 10 percent of children who participate in sports receive some type of injury to the face
  • Thirty-six percent of injuries to children are sports related
  • Five million teeth are knocked out each year

These accidents mostly cause cracked and fractured teeth and lip lacerations, according to a recent study in General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Academy. In addition, high impact collisions can cause broken jaws, and tooth trauma symptoms include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.

If you or your child experience a tooth injury this summer, Dr. Bailey recommends the following first aid steps for a loose or knocked out tooth.