Parents warned of holiday spike in dental injuries

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dental injuries
Dr Michael Chong

They are this summer’s must-have holiday essential, but oversized novelty pool floats are also one of the leading causes behind an expected spike in dental injuries over the Christmas break, a paediatric dental specialist has warned.

Dr Michael Chong, of the Paediatric Dental Practice on the Gold Coast, said he treated several children daily during the summer school holidays for dental trauma ranging from mild to severe.

Accidents aren’t just limited to those involving pools and waterslides due to the increased amount of time kids spend outdoors around water. They are also engaging in more potentially risky activities such as riding bikes and scooters, and trampolining.

And while summer is the clinic’s busiest time for treating dental emergencies, ranging from a single chipped tooth to several teeth knocked out, Dr Chong noted a growing number of children with injuries resulting from the rise in popularity of giant pool floats.

Dr Chong warned parents to closely supervise their children when around water to prevent high-spirited antics from ending in serious accidents.

“Leading into the Christmas holidays, we are bracing for the peak season of dental trauma among children of all ages, because people are out and about more, swimming in their pools and visiting waterparks,” he said.

“We have seen a big increase in the number of accidents occurring with large, inflatable pool toys compared to a few years ago, with several cases of kids slipping or falling off and knocking their teeth either on the pool coping or steps.”

Dr Chong also warned waterslides were another common cause of injuries among younger children, closely followed by scooters and new bikes.

“Scooters are one of the worst offenders as they tip forward easily; when the rider hits a small object or uneven pavement they go over the handlebars and their natural reaction is to hold on, so the face takes the full force of the fall,” he said.

“If the child has lost a tooth, try to locate it and handle it by the crown and not the root and store it in milk in a sealable container,” Dr Chong advised.

“If the child is aged 6 and under and it is a baby tooth that was lost, do not to try to put it back in, but if it is an adult tooth, the best thing to do is rinse the tooth in milk if available, or water if not, then reposition it back in the mouth.”

Dr Chong said the patient should then bite down on something soft, such as a shirt or tea towel, while urgent medical attention is sought.

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