Plenty of youngsters today are getting involved in athletic activities at an early age. Some sports require kids to wear helmets but that may not be enough to protect their mouth and teeth. You don’t want your child to have to make a trip to the dentist because of a wayward ball that came in too high. Here are some tips on protecting your child’s mouth and teeth while he or she is out on the field.

An Orange Peel is Not a Good Mouth Guard

Plenty of people have seen a little kid taking the rind from his or her orange at halftime of the soccer match and jokingly using it as a mouth guard when they run back on the field. But if you are serious about protecting your child’s teeth, you’ll want to buy a real one. A good mouth guard can protect still developing teeth from getting knocked out of place and potentially stunting proper growth. Get your kid a mouth guard before they head out onto the field for the first time and the child will eventually start to see it as just another required piece of their uniform. Who knows, your kid might even start a trend when the other parents see it, leading to safer play for everyone on the field.

Cage It Up

Face cages are typically only used by athletes who will frequently come into the direct line of fire of a ball, such as the catcher in baseball. But if you want to provide extra protection for your youngster, there are face cages made for other sports as well, such as hockey. Your child may not want to wear a face cage if the other kids are not doing so, but he or she will thank you later in life when they have great oral health.

Encourage a Non-Contact Sport

If you want your child to play sports but are really concerned about the potential for injury, try talking to your child about joining a sport that won’t have an object repeatedly flying past their head or have another human being trying to knock them over. For example, golf or bowling tend to be pretty risk-free in this department. Some children’s soccer leagues ban headers, making it less likely that a soccer ball will end up near your child’s face. Instead of playing tackle football, see if there is a flag football league in your area. Some youth baseball leagues discourage players from diving headfirst into the base. Obviously, you are never going to be able to protect your child 100 percent at all times, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of them getting hurt.

Keep Your Dentist on Speed Dial

If your child is playing a contact sport, sometimes no level of protection is good enough. If you are concerned about an injury to the face causing significant dental problems for your child, make sure you tell your dentist about your concerns and keep their phone number handy in case they are needed during an emergency. Your dentist may also be able to look at the development of whatever teeth are currently in your child’s mouth and let you know how dangerous to future growth it could be if an accident were to occur.

Many parents encourage their children to be active in sports at a young age, and there’s no problem with that. But if you are going to send your child into the vicinity of a ball or puck that is flying through the air, make sure you give them the proper equipment to protect their mouth and teeth. Talk with a children dentistry specialist about the dangers of oral injuries today for more information.