How to Prepare Your Little Slugger for Baseball Season
Help your kid swing for the fences this baseball season.
Baseball fans won’t be the only ones celebrating the return of America’s pastime in March. If you’re a youth baseball or Little Leaguer parent, you’ll be tasked with helping your budding ballplayer get ready for baseball season.
Whether you and your family are new to the sport or you’re already practically Little League MVPs, here are a couple of helpful tips for preparing your little slugger for baseball season.
Make sure your kid is ready to step up to the plate with these essential pieces of gear.
Shopping for new gear to ring in the baseball season can be a lot of fun when you’re well-prepared. If this is your first season as a Little Leaguer or youth baseball parent, starting off with the basics is a great way to enjoy the experience without feeling overwhelmed.
According to the official Little League, the top five essential pieces of gear for young baseballers include a(n):
- Baseball cap or visor
- Properly-sized and broken-in glove
- Approved bat, sized for your child
- Batting helmet
- Athletic supporter and/or protection cup (for boys)
Your kid’s team will supply uniforms, but buying a couple new outfits for practice is a great way to get your kid excited and ready to hit the field.
Depending on your kid’s league, school team, or private team, your shopping list might be a little different. For example, some official leagues provide batting helmets and bats for their players.
Before you go shopping, get a list of what you need to buy from the coach or ask a fellow parent. It’s a great idea to buy extra balls, gloves, and a bat, so you and your kid can practice at home, too!
Play hardball the safe way with a properly fitted mouth guard, especially if your kid wears braces.
Mouth guards are an optional piece of gear, but if you ask us, they should be considered essential for young ballplayers.
Mouth guards are a must-have piece of equipment for contact sports, like football. Unfortunately, baseball is often left off the list, despite plenty of contact occurring on the diamond. Two players can collide at the plate or in the field, a pitcher could miscalculate their pitch, or a bat could accidentally be thrown.
An errant baseball or bat can cause serious dental damage, even more so if your child wears braces. The combination of an impact against metal braces can lead to extensive injury to the teeth, lips, and cheeks.
Investing in a high-quality mouth guard designed for contact sports is excellent insurance against potential accidents. You can find kid-sized mouth guards at a number of sports stores, but we recommend speaking with your dentist first. Not all mouth guards are effective, but Dr. Monroe can help steer you toward the best options.
It’s Big League Chew season, so strike out tooth decay with a fluoride treatment before it can make a play.
Nothing says kid’s baseball season like grabbing a bag of Big League Chew on the way to a game. After all, the now-iconic gum has been a staple for little sluggers since the 1980s. But if your kid is indulging in Big League and other sweets at games or practice, getting a preventive fluoride treatment will give you some peace of mind when it comes to their oral health.
Fluoride treatments are optional, but we highly recommend them for kids. They help strengthen teeth enamel and really help to prevent tooth decay.
The treatment process is super simple and is usually done as the final step of a dental cleaning. After your kid’s teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and polished, one of our hygienists will apply a layer of fluoride over them. This layer of fluoride will form a hard, sticky layer on teeth and can be brushed off after a few hours; the hygienist will tell you exactly how long to wait at the appointment.
Fluoride treatments are most effective when combined with regular at-home brushing and flossing routines. Make sure your kid isn’t skipping bedtime tooth care after an exhilarating game or practice session.
Keep tooth-friendly snacks and drinks on deck for your hungry hitter.
While we’re on the subject of the inevitable snacking that comes with afternoons at the baseball field, let’s touch on some tooth-friendly options.
Here are a few healthy snack choices:
- Fresh fruits and veggie trays
- Low-sugar yogurt
- Nuts or trail mix
- Dried fruit (look for “no sugar added” options)
- Hummus and pita chips
- Cheese sticks
- Water and sparkling water
- Sugar-free sports drinks and juices
- Regular or chocolate milk
Bringing healthy snacks along is a great way to make sure your kid isn’t overindulging in candy, chips, and soda.
It’s also a good idea to take along some tooth flossers for your kids (and you!) to use after eating. They can be especially handy when a popcorn kernel or a stringy bit of celery gets stuck. Chewing a stick of sugar-free xylitol gum after snacking also helps dislodge food particles and prevent cavities.
Keep in mind that if you volunteer to bring snacks for your kid’s whole team, it’s usually better to bring pre-packaged snacks versus homemade ones. The main reason is to avoid any issues with food allergies or dietary restrictions other kids may have. Being able to read an ingredient list makes avoiding allergies much easier.
Touch base with Monroe Family Dentistry before the season starts.
Make sure your kid’s oral health bases are covered by booking a visit with Monroe Family Dentistry.
Not only can we help you find the right mouthguard, but we’ll also make sure your kid’s teeth are healthy and decay-free, so they can share their best smile on game day. We can even add in a preventive fluoride treatment during your kid’s next cleaning appointment.
When you’re ready to come in and see us, give our office a call or use our online appointment request form to schedule a time. Don’t forget to ask Dr. Monroe about his favorite team, the Atlanta Braves!