Prevent Tooth and Mouth accidents this National Safety Month
June has been designated as National Safety Month. Each year, the National Safety Council partners with different organizations to raise awareness on preventing injuries at work and everyday living. However, even with the stringent observance to safety, accidents still happen which may take a turn for the worst.
The 2016 National Safety Month
With the tag “SafeForLife,” the National Safety Council partners with different organizations to promote safety in everyday living. Aside from presentations and conferences, the NSC also organizes different activities and releases different tools to help raise awareness for accident prevention.
As with previous celebrations, this year’s National Safety Month is generally divided into different safety resources per week:
- Week 1 (through June 12): Stand Ready to Respond
- Week 2 (June 13-19): Be Healthy
- Week 3 (June 20-26): Watch Out for Dangers
- Week 4 (June 27-30): Share Roads Safely
Though the National Safety Month covers a wide range of topics, the focus of the celebration is to raise awareness in preventing injuries and accidents, which can become quite risky even with the simplest of mishaps. This is particularly true for face-related injuries like dental trauma.
What is dental trauma?
Dental trauma is an injury which may alter the foundation or appearance of teeth and the mouth area, and is more common than people think. Even simple accidents like falls and collision may lead to a serious dental trauma.
Most statistics show that sports-related activities contribute much in dental injuries. In general terms, the American Dental Association estimates that at least 12 million people between five and 22 years old suffer injuries from accidents each year, amounting to approximately $33 billion in healthcare interventions. Meanwhile, in sports-related accidents alone, more than 5 million teeth are injured every year, and dental injuries are much more common that an estimated $500 million is spent by people around the world on having dental appointments to restore damaged teeth.
On the other hand, most dental traumas are not caused by high-contact activities like professional sports. It has also been revealed that among teens, sports-related activities contribute to the greatest percentage in dental injuries. Furthermore, at least 50% of all children and teens is said to suffer at least one major accident-related dental injury by the time they graduate high school.
Types of dental trauma
Other than cracked and bleeding lips or a chipped tooth, there are a number of dental traumas that result from accidents. The most common injuries include knocked-out teeth, cracked tooth, loosened and/or intruded tooth, and gum-related problems like swelling and deep cuts.
However, this doesn’t mean that every accident will result in dental injuries. In celebration of the National Safety Month this year, it is best to gather enough information in preventing tooth and mouth accidents from happening either in the workplace, event, or everyday living. While it is true that accidents are unavoidable, there are a number of ideas that can help reduce your chances of incurring injuries.
- Do not chew ice. You may be tempted to chew ice to keep yourself comfortable in the sweltering heat this summer. However, chewing ice can cause chips and small fractures in teeth. More often than not, this leads to sensitive teeth, and the foundation weakens too, making it easy for teeth to get knocked out of its roots even with the simplest accidents.
- Complete PPE are required for a reason. Personal Protective Equipment like face shields and helmets are required especially in the workplace, as these help in preventing head- and face-related injuries. Wearing a complete set of the right type of PPE is also important, as there are specific guidelines for personal protective clothing depending on the type and scope of work, as well as the environment in the workplace.
- For athletes, mouthguards are essential. In sports-related injuries, the risk of a dental trauma rises to as much as 60 percent when not wearing mouth guards. Meanwhile, at least 80 percent of facial injuries suffered from sports tend to concentrate on the mouth, especially around the top front teeth area. If possible, try to get customized mouth guards, since it contours naturally to your mouth area, offering the best protection for the teeth. Customized mouth guards are also more comfortable and fit than stock mouth pieces. Aside from mouth guards, it is much more preferable to complement it with face shields, since it protect the whole face.
- Know the tiniest of details on sports. Some sports tend to damage the teeth more than others. For example, swimming may contribute to the weakening of teeth, since the mouth area is always exposed to chemically-treated water. Meanwhile, in diving, improper steps may lead to “tooth squeeze” and “diver’s mouth syndrome” or barodontalgia. Updating your dental specialist will be a great help to determine if it is safe for you to do these types of sports.
- Seek immediate attention. Accidents can happen even with the strictest of preventions. Should an injury result from one, seek medical attention immediately. Dental trauma takes more time to treat, particularly post-intervention. It is also revealed that an untreated dental trauma affect a person at least 20 times more compared to people who have never suffered injuries to the teeth and mouth. Meanwhile, treating dental trauma also needs specific procedures, and there are even complex surgeries for the most damaging accidents that you will need to regularly go back to a dentist or a surgeon for treatment.
- Control sugar cravings. While not directly attributed to preventing accidents, controlling your sugar urges help in maintaining healthy teeth and mouth. In addition, aside from controlling a sweet tooth, limiting acidic drinks also halt food acids from accumulating in the mouth, which leads to softening of teeth material and makes teeth prone to major damages from injuries. When partnered with proper dental hygiene, this helps decrease the chances of teeth breaking down and loosening even in cases of extreme accidents.
- Practice correct oral hygiene. More than keeping teeth white, making them strong helps in preventing massive injuries when there is a big accident that may knock out teeth. In addition, having strong and healthy teeth also helps in preventing accidents from causing major damage to the mouth area.