Sports Injuries…What sport do you think causes the most dental injuries with kids? If you guessed football…you are right.
The ADA estimated that faceguards and mouth guards prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football alone. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states the children between the ages of 7-11 are the most susceptible to injury. When all is said and done, it is up to parents to ensure their kids are protected during their practices and games at a younger age and train their kids of the importance of wearing mouth guards when they are older and on their own.
At the orthodontic office of Lisa P. Howard DDS MS our goal is to ensure parents and patients are well informed when it comes to the importance of wearing a mouth guard during any type of contact sport to protect their beautiful smile over a lifetime. Once adult teeth erupt, there are no second chances. Wearing a mouth guard can make the difference between losing or fracturing a tooth which requires a lifetime of dental repair or owning your own pearly white smile.
During orthodontic treatment, teeth are much safer when splinted together with brackets and wires to absorb the impact or shock. However, an orthodontic mouth guard is recommended to protect a patient’s lips and cheeks to reduce discomfort caused by the braces.
8 Facts About Dental Sports Injuries:
- An athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard
- Every athlete involved in a contact sport has about a 10% chance per season of an injury to their jaw or teeth or a 33-56% chance during an athletic career
- An American Association of Orthodontists survey found that 84% of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them, even though they may be required to wear other protective materials, such as helmets and shoulder pads.
- A properly fitted mouth guard reduces the chances of sustaining a concussion from a blow to the jaw as well as protecting teeth. A stock mouth guard which is bought at sports stores without any individual fitting provides only a low level of protection in comparison to a customized mouth guard
- According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, baseball triggered the most injuries within the 7 to 12 age group and basketball was the most frequent sport associated with dental injuries among 13 to 17
- A large national survey found that bicycling was the most common consumer sports activity related to dental injuries in children
- Mouth guards should be worn at all times during any type of organized contact team sports or non-organized contact sports in neighborhoods, parks, etc.
- The ADA recommends wearing custom mouth guards for the following sports: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field Hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling
Mouth guards come in a variety of brands and sizes. Whenever possible, dentists recommend that athletes wear a custom mouth guard. Over the counter mouth guards are not only less effective in preventing or reducing damage to teeth and jaws, they require you to constantly bite down in order to keep them in place causing talking and breathing issues which result in kids not wanting to wear them.
A customized mouth guard can be costly when kids are continually losing baby teeth and erupting permanent teeth between the ages of 7-14, requiring frequent replacement. However, the cost of a fractured tooth over a lifetime is many times greater than the cost of a professionally made mouth guard during the years when kids are the most susceptible to injury.
Whether you opt for a custom mouth guard or an over the counter variety while your child is going through dental development, teaching your children the importance of protecting their smile while playing sports is a high priority when raising kids today.