Summertime Memories of Camp… and Dental Trauma???
With summer in the air, I cannot help but reminisce about my childhood during this wonderful season. I spent all my summers as a kid in camp. I remember all the fun activities that I would do, like arts and crafts and playing sports, and I would come home every day with a mixture of paint, dirt and grass stains covering my body.
When I think back on those times, I wonder why my father, who is a dentist, never saw a reason for me to wear a mouth guard. Granted, if my dad sent me to camp with one, I probably wouldn’t wear it, because of the continuous childhood desire for peer acceptance. However, I wore one every fall when I would play in a recreational soccer league. To me, the difference between the situations seems pretty slim. At camp, I was playing standard sports with other children; and, let’s face it, children are not gentle and not afraid of putting themselves in harm’s way.
After doing some research, I realized that my skepticism is not that far off the mark. Approximately half of all children have experienced at least one dental trauma, with the most common injury being a fractured tooth. Most injuries occur between the ages of 8 and 12, which obviously is when a good number of their permanent teeth are already in. Also, many traumas require a visit to the dentist (http://childrenshealth.yourdictionary.com/dental-trauma). In retrospect, the cost and amount of time spent in the dentist’s office for a custom-fitted mouth guard are significantly less than repairing the tooth.
Maybe camps should start instituting a mouth guard policy. Not only could this protect them from any form of legal action by parents, but it could also build credibility for the camp’s safety efforts. This policy would also keep the child wearing a mouth guard from feeling different than everyone else. For a child, the time spent at camp is a wonderful memory that should not be tainted by dental trauma.
Would you wear, or have your child wear, a mouth guard at summer camp?
–Sara Jablow, Lanmark360 Intern
Pictured below, Sara Jablow and Lanmark360’s Sr. Public Relations Specialist, Erin Foster