how to prevent dental injuries

Teeth are strong, but they're not indestructible. They can be damaged if you get hit in the face, trip and fall or bite something hard, while a tooth that's already been weakened can be damaged more easily.

While some accidents can't be prevented, you can lower the risk of your teeth getting chipped, cracked or knocked out by taking precautions.[1]

Wear a sports mouthguard

Playing sport is part of a healthy lifestyle, but some sports can put your teeth, jaws and other parts of your mouth and face at risk of serious injury. This doesn't just include contact sports like rugby and hockey, but any sport or activity where there's a risk of impacts from balls, equipment, other players or surfaces.[2]

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) and sporting authorities recommend that players wear custom-fitted mouthguards to help reduce the severity of injuries during sports. A custom mouthguard provided by a dentist offers better protection than a loose-fitting one bought over the counter.[3]

Watch what you eat

It's not only sugary foods and drinks that can damage your teeth. You should also be wary of biting down on anything hard that could chip or crack a tooth and cause a dental emergency. This includes nuts, hard lollies, unpopped popcorn and ice in drinks.[4]

You should also never use your teeth as tools to crack nuts, cut tape, open packaging or open bottles.[5]

Don't brush too hard

Brushing your teeth twice a day is part of good oral hygiene and helps to keep your teeth strong and healthy, but improper brushing can actually harm your teeth.[6]

Applying too much pressure when brushing can damage your teeth, as can scrubbing your teeth in a side-to-side motion. This can strip away the enamel surface of the teeth over time, as well as cause the gums to recede. If the bristles of your toothbrush wear out in just a few months, you're probably brushing too hard.[6]

For effective brushing, brush gently and systematically in circular motions around all the inner, outer and chewing surfaces of your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush.[6]

Try to avoid stress

If you grind your teeth when you feel stressed or angry, this can cause the teeth to wear down over time and become more sensitive. In more severe cases, it can even damage teeth and dental restorations such as fillings.[7]

Involuntary teeth grinding and jaw clenching is called bruxism, and it can also happen during sleep. If you often wake up with pain in your head, face, ear or jaw, you might have bruxism. It can also lead to jaw problems such as TMJ dysfunction.[7]

If you think you might grind your teeth due to stress, or your dentist notices the signs, they may recommend treatments techniques to help you reduce stress, such as cognitive behavioural therapy. If you grind your teeth at night, they may recommend that you wear a mouth splint.[7]

Talk to a dentist in Sydney CBD

If you need to see a dentist or you're due for your regular check-up, get in touch with our friendly team at Sydney CBD Dental.

Call our George Street clinic on (02) 9232 3900 or contact us online.

References

[1] Australian Dental Association. Dental Trauma and First Aid [Online] 2017 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Younger-Adults-18-30/Sports-and-First-Aid

[2] Australian Dental Association. Mouthguards [Online] 2017 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Your-Dental-Health/Teens-12-17/Mouthguards

[3] Australian Dental Association. "No Mouthguard, No Play," says Australia's dentists and sports medicine specialists [Online] 2015 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Media-Releases/No-Mouthguard,-no-play,-says-Australia-s-dentist

[4] American Dental Association. Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth [Online] 2013 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/9-foods-that-damage-your-teeth

[5] Ontario Dental Association. Dental Emergencies [Online] 2001 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.youroralhealth.ca/dental-procedures98/common-dental-procedures/133-personal-oral-care/dental-emergencies

[6] Australian Dental Association. Brushing [Online] 2017 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Health-Week/Oral-Health-for-Busy-Lives/Brushing

[7] NHS UK. Teeth grinding (bruxism) [Online] 2017 [Accessed August 2018] Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/teeth-grinding/