School is in full swing and so are fall sports. As kids run onto the football field covered with protective gear, parents can have a hard time not thinking about possible injuries. We recommend listening to your child’s coach for safety tips, but when it comes to teeth we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. Here are some ways to protect your little athlete’s teeth when they play any form of contact sports.

Use a mouth guard

The Academy of General Dentistry estimates mouth guards prevent over 200,000 injuries each year. A professionally fitted guard works best, but any guard from a sport supply store will help keep teeth healthy and in place during rough games.

Keep teeth strong in the first place

Teeth, like every part of the body, can be strengthened. Stronger teeth make for a more protected mouth, so keep teeth clean, use fluoride mouthwash and avoid too much sugar or acidic foods to maximize oral strength.

Deal with dental emergencies quickly

Children have the almost magical ability to get hurt no matter how protected they are. If a tooth is knocked out, don’t worry. With a quick response by immediately going to the dentist a tooth can be saved. If a tooth is chipped or partially knocked out, salvage whatever pieces you find, keep them clean and get to a dentist ASAP. Here is more information and tips on how to handle other dental emergencies.