Injury Prevention

  • Counsel on injury prevention. Suggestions include:
    • Recommend caregivers always keep one hand on infants in high places
    • Avoid walker use
    • Keep car seats rear-facing until at least age 2
    • Use safety gates, cover sharp edges on furniture, fit children with helmets when riding toys with wheels, keep play area free of items that may trip children and cause a fall
  • Mouth guards
    • Mouth guards should be used in any sport where a child may suffer a head or mouth injury.
    • Recommend use of a mouth guard to decrease risk of injury to the teeth, lips, tongue, face, jaw and brain (concussion).
    • 3 types of mouth guards are available:
      • Stock - Store bought, these provide the least protection.
      • Boil and Bite- Can be purchased from the store and boiled and when slightly cool, placed in the mouth to mold to the shape of the child's teeth
      • Custom Made – Crafted by the dentist or orthodontist; offer the best protection of the 3 options (also the most expensive)
      • Proper care of the mouth guard is important.

Further information on acute dental problems, trauma to primary and permanent teeth, and injury prevention can be found in Smiles For Life Acute Dental Problems module and Bright Futures: Oral Health- Pocket Guide (3rd ed).


Newsome PR, Tran DC, Cooke MS. The role of the mouth guard in the prevention of sports-related dental injuries: a review. International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry. 2001;11(6):396-404.