Sports and Mouthguards
Protect Your Teeth!
The new school year is just around the corner, and with the start of school comes the start of the fall sports seasons. We here at Weintraub & Eltink Orthodontics want to remind young athletes to “play it safe” by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this fall. Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention!
A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete’s protective equipment. Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out (avulsed), broken or displaced. They also prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth and help avoid injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint (T.M.J.) in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have – wear a properly fitted mouth guard. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Prevention of Sports-Related Orofacial Injuries, sports accidents reportedly account for 10 to 39% of all dental injuries in children and are most often caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a puck or ball, or direct player-to-player contact.
Here are five tips to help prevent facial injury:
1. Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports: Mouth guards are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury, and dentists and dental specialists can make customized mouth guards that hold teeth in place and allow for normal speech and breathing.
2. Wear a helmet: Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head and concussions.
3. Wear protective eyewear: Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
4. Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin: Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
5. Make protective gear mandatory for all sports: Athletes who participate in football, hockey and boxing are required to wear mouth guards. If mouth guards have been proven to significantly decrease the risk of oral injuries, they should be mandatory in every sport where contact or trauma is likely for kids!