Electric Scooters and the Dangers They Pose to Your Dental Health

Electric Scooters and the Dangers They Pose to Your Dental HealthOver the past few years, cities have seen the rise of electric scooters, or e-scooters as they are commonly called, among their streets. Visit any major city, and you’ll likely see people whizzing by on sidewalks or driving alongside cars on these rented e-scooters. Extremely convenient and allowing people to travel short distances while navigating through crowded cities where there is limited parking, they offer an ecological/ budget-friendly option often charging up to a dollar per minute, while decreasing overall urban automobile congestion and emissions. Rider’s ages range from young adults to mature, filling most with nostalgic memories of childhood freedom and fun as they zoom by at speeds up to 15 miles an hour.

Unfortunately, with the rise of their popularity, there has also been a disturbing influx of medical emergencies as a result of injuries from the e-scooter craze. In the past decade, according to the American Journal of Otolaryngology, a recent study shows that head and facial injuries have tripled and continue to climb. Medical professionals claim that they have been treating serious injuries due to e-scooters since their arrival and continue to see more at an alarming pace. Injuries range from broken teeth and fractured jaws to extreme cases of bleeding in the brain from skull fractures. Though not all cases are as extreme, it is important to note that most injuries could have been prevented or lessened in severity. Doctors are desperately urging people to be more careful while riding e-scooters and to practice proper safety protocols and common sense.

Here are some tips for ensuring your safety when opting to navigate streets on an e-scooter:

  • Read and adhere to the operating and safety instructions provided by the companies when operating their scooters
    • Drive slowly
    • Do not race or perform stunts
  • Check the scooter for any defects and do not use if the scooter is not functioning properly 
    • Before using them, do a visual inspection and search for signs of damage or unusual wear
    • At the start of your ride, check the brakes and throttle
    • If there are any issues, report the issue, and choose another scooter
  •  If unfamiliar with electric scooters, elect for a test drive 
    • Electric scooters are less forgiving than bikes, so it’s a good idea to practice before going on an adventure
    • Practice starting and stopping, accelerating and decelerating, and moving around obstacles
  •  Obey traffic laws 
    • If not allowed on the sidewalk, stay on the road and abide by traffic laws
    • Use hand signals
    • Wear reflective clothing when riding at night
    • Do not text and ride
      • If you have to check your navigation or phone for any reasons, pullover
  • Be aware of your surroundings
    • If you are riding on the sidewalk, be mindful of pedestrians 
    • If you are on the road, be patient and aware of other drivers
    • Avoid roads with water, large amounts of gravel, and potholes
  • Wear a helmet and other protective gear to protect your body
    • One of the biggest problems in accidents involving scooters is the failure to wear a helmet
      • Helmets should fit comfortably and snug, they should not rock side to side
      • Proper helmets are secured with a chin strap and buckle 
      • Helmets should have a hard-outer shell and an absorbent liner on the inside that are at least half an inch thick
    • Mouthguards are also a great option for protecting your mouth 
  • Do not operate a scooter while drinking
    • Do not operate any vehicle while under the influence–Yes you can still get a DUI!
    • Also urge riders not to operate scooters while holding onto other articles such as drinks or food, and keep both hands firmly on the handlebars.
      • If you have to carry something, bring a backpack

E-scooters are often a spur of the moment adventure–a “Grab it and Go” chance, and often you are unequipped with proper gear. Sometimes helmets are provided and other times you are left on your own; though companies are trying to provide more for your safety, it is important to take your safety into your own hands and ensure your ride is as safe as possible at all times. Do not let the benefits of this trendy travel outweigh the risks to your health and safety. Though professions have the latest technology and talented specialists who can provide care when you need it most, your safety is paramount. Please e-scoot safely!  

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