According to the Center for Disease Control, children and adolescents should perform 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day. Getting exercise is vital for kids, so they can develop their bones and improve their cardiovascular endurance.
At Kids Healthy Teeth, we promote dental and overall health, so we encourage patients to participate in intramural sports or youth leagues if they can. It’s also pretty awesome to hear amazing stories about our all-star athlete patients scoring goals and beating records!
Our pediatric dentists are big sports fans, but they also understand that high contact activities are associated with a number of risks. It’s our goal to avoid dental injuries by teaching kids and parents about proper equipment and protection. While most sports organizations do have safety regulations in place, many don’t take any precautions for dental safety.
On the bright side, there are easy ways to prevent dental emergencies. We consider our patients a part of our dental family, so we want them and their families to have access to sports-safety resources. In this guide, we’ll outline ways to protect your child’s teeth and keep them safe whenever they engage in high-contact sports. One cautionary step can save you from a lot of stress!
Thanks to Katy Youth Basketball, tons of kids can get involved in a basketball program as long as they live within the Katy ISD boundaries. The non-profit organization is open to boys and girls from 1st through 10th grade. If your child is interested in playing, sign up for the Katy Youth Basketball 5-on-5 league soon! Seasons start in January with two practices per week and games on Saturdays.
With a nominal registration, the league provides uniforms, referees, gym space, trophies, awards, equipment purchases and repairs, and logistical fees. Not included in the package is protective dental equipment. However, basketball is a high-contact sport – kids are throwing balls, lunge to shoot, defend other players, etc. Injuries are not unlikely, so it’s highly recommended to invest in a mouthguard. In fact, almost all NBA players use mouthguards to prevent accidents on the court. Stephen Curry even wears flavored ones!
If you’re not sure what a mouthguard is, it is a piece of athletic equipment that covers the upper teeth. It’s made of durable but flexible material that is designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips, and other damage. Mouthguards should fit the teeth and mouth comfortably, so the user can still communicate and breathe normally.
There are tons of opportunities for kids of all ages to join a soccer team in Katy, TX. We have multiple soccer clubs and programs in Katy, such as the SG1 Soccer Club, the Katy Youth Soccer Club, i9 Sports, Fun Fair Positive Soccer, CF10 Soccer Academy, YMCA Youth Soccer, and Memorial Indoor Soccer Academy. Some require tryouts while others are open to all. There are also lots of summer programs and camps for kids who want to hone their coordination and skills before playing competitively.
Though no hands are allowed in the game, players can use any other body part to manipulate the ball, making head injuries quite common. Players often get involved in player-to-head collisions or ball-to-head collisions. Typically, soccer equipment for kids only consists of cleats, high socks, and shin guards. Goalkeepers probably get the most protection because balls are literally kicked in their direction, but most other players don’t get any protection for the head.
While they can’t prevent concussions, mouthguards can absorb the impact of a blow to stop the teeth from being damaged. They can also protect other players from the wearer’s teeth. Not all players use mouthguards in soccer, but you may want to get one for your child if they play in an aggressive league or they have braces.
Tackle football is the definition of a contact sport (not really but it’s a good example). Kids ram into each other every few yards in a chaotic melee. It’s not difficult to see why it’s such an injury-prone sport. With that being said, youth football leagues have taken many preventative measures to avoid serious injuries. Kids who play football are required to use extensive safety equipment, including a helmet, jockstrap, shoulder pads, and mouthguard.
Football players should use their mouthguard and helmet at every game and practice to prevent trauma to the head and mouth. After every use, make sure to remind your child to clean the mouthguard, too. A quick way to keep them fresh is to leave them soaking in a mix of baking soda, vinegar, and water, or brush the mouthguards manually with soap and water. Otherwise, they can get smelly from calcium and bacteria.
Kids can participate in tackle football or flag football with Katy Youth Football. The nonprofit organization hosts multiple divisions throughout its fall season every year. Most middle schools and high schools in the Katy Independent School District also offer intramural sports.
Depending on what position your child is playing, they may need safety equipment to protect themselves. Catchers need chest protectors and leg guards because they have the highest risk of being hit by a ball. Batters, pitchers, and catchers all wear helmets and mouthguards in case of a mispitched ball, but a mouthguard can be useful for any player. With balls flying up to 90 mph, it’s a good idea to get some protection no matter where you’re playing. We recommend using a helmet with a face cage or ear flaps to keep balls from damaging the teeth and jaw.
In Katy, there are many leagues your child can get involved in, such as the Katy National League, Katy Pony Baseball, Katy American Little League, and Katy Youth Baseball. They take players ages 4 to 18 and registration is normally in December and January for the spring season or July and August for the fall season.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the sport, lacrosse is a team sport played with a stick (similar to a hockey stick) and a lacrosse ball. The objective of the game is to shoot the ball into a goal. Katy Youth Cavaliers offer regular lacrosse and speed lacrosse. The difference is speed lacrosse is designed for younger children and it’s a noncontact sport. This format is designed to build and improve lacrosse fundamentals, so players can build confidence and familiarity with the sport. It’s a great option to start off with if you don’t want your child playing on a more aggressive, competitive team right away.
Lacrosse is an intense sport where a lot of shoving and colliding is expected. Because of this, most teams require the use of extensive protective gear, including mouthguards, helmets, gloves, and pads. The mouthguard can help keep teeth, braces, and sensitive inner tissues of the mouth safe from balls, sticks, and other players.
Mouthguards come in all shapes and sizes. Remember that the softer and more comfortable the mouthguard is, the less protection it offers. The dentist can help find the right balance between the two if you get a custom mouth guard fitted. These professionally tailored mouthguards provide more protection because they fit the exact shape of the mouth, leaving little room for accidents.
Like lacrosse and football, hockey is a high-contact sport that requires protective gear to stay safe. The slippery ice can make it difficult to maintain coordination, resulting in players crashing into each other. Ironically, the bulky hockey uniform can also cause players to lose balance and bump into each other.
Hockey is a popular sport in Katy and your child can play with leagues and clubs around town. Houston Wild Hockey Club and Aerodrome Ice Skating Complex both have teams for kids. These leagues all require lots of equipment to shield your child from injuries. The extensive list includes shin guards, elbow pads, knee pads, chest pads, jockstraps, neck guards, and hockey gloves. Make sure your child has everything they need to play a game safely. Dental repairs can be costly, painful, and time-consuming and we definitely don’t want any of our patients to go through it.
Everyone should have a rudimentary understanding of self-defense. Martial arts, like taekwondo, karate, and judo, are a great place to start. Each form has a different origin, purpose, style, and technique, but what they all have in common is that they are contact sports. While most martial arts are about learning movements and self-defense, there is still a chance your child could get hurt during training.
Most instructors are very careful to train students safely, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared! Sparring sessions often entail a variety of kicks, punches, and throws. If you are practicing any of the following arts, you may need protective gear:
- Jiu Jitsu: Knee guards, ear guards, headgear
- Karate: Hand and footpads, cup, gloves
- Taekwondo: Chest, shin, and arm guards
- Aikido: Headguard, chest guard, knee and elbow support
There’s no shortage of dojos and martial arts academies in Katy. There’s Rock Solid Tae Kwon-Do, Revolution Dojo, Black Dragon Taekwondo, Jade Mountain Martial Arts, and Legacy Martial Arts just to name a few. Each place has different rules and requirements for safety equipment. It’s best to consult with the master or instructor about what your child needs to succeed in their class.
Although it may seem pointless to take care of baby teeth since they’re going to fall out anyway, baby teeth actually play an important role in your child’s long-term dental health. They need to be protected, so your child can eat, speak, and smile normally. Baby teeth also hold space, so permanent teeth and jaw bones can develop properly.
We want you and your child to have fun at sports games, and not worried about a dental emergency. Our doctors can provide custom-made mouthguards, general dental exams, and other pediatric dentistry services for you and your family. If you have questions about dental health and safety for our Katy pediatric dentist at Kids Healthy Teeth, feel free to give us a call.