Trauma is never a word a parent wants to hear in association with their child. However, dental trauma is common in young children. Studies show that by the age of 12, about one in four children will have experienced some form of dental injury. Here are some of the reasons why dental trauma in children happens and how to avoid it:
Why Are Children at Risk of Dental Trauma?
Here are some of the reasons that children are prone to dental trauma.
- Physical Development and Motor Skills: Young children, particularly toddlers, are still developing their motor skills. This means they are more prone to falls and accidents as they learn to walk, run, and explore their environment.
- High Activity Levels: Children are naturally curious and active. Their energetic exploration, coupled with their still-developing motor coordination, makes them more susceptible to accidents, including dental injuries.
- Protrusive Front Teeth: The primary front teeth tend to be more protrusive (a technical way of saying they stick out more, like buck teeth), which makes them more vulnerable to trauma in case of falls.
- Environments Prone to Accidents: Playgrounds, despite being designed for children, are common places for accidents, especially if they are not well-maintained or if children use the equipment in ways not intended.
- Participation in Sports: Even non-contact sports or activities like cycling or playing on a trampoline can pose a risk for dental trauma if children lose their balance or collide with others.
- Oral Habits: Habits such as thumb-sucking or using a pacifier for too long can cause the upper front teeth protrude more, making them more susceptible to injury.
- Previous Dental Trauma: A child who experiences dental trauma is at a higher risk for subsequent injuries, especially if the initial injury led to some structural compromise.
How to Avoid Dental Trauma in Children
Prevention plays a key role in reducing the likelihood of dental trauma. The following steps have proven successful in reducing the incidences of childhood dental trauma:
- Safe play environments
- Use of protective gear like helmets and mouthguards
- A healthy diet
- Regular dental check-ups