Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Mouthguards
Stereotypes of toothless hockey players give parents a false sense of dental security when their children are participating in a sport like soccer.
If you assumed that sports like youth football, lacrosse, or ice hockey had the highest number of mouth injuries, you would be wrong!
Since the early 1970’s, these sports have seen a drastic decline in the number of dental and jaw injuries due to the use of mouth guards in both youth and high school levels.
In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry found that soccer players are far more likely to sustain a dental-related injury than football players. Studies show that youth sports with far less protection requirements suffer the greatest number of dental and jaw injuries. These sports include baseball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, softball and gymnastics.
Get The Facts
The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety finds dental injuries to be the most common type of mouth, jaw or face injury sustained during sports participation. An athlete is 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when they are not taking advantage of a mouthguard.
Approximately 36 percent of all unintentional injuries involving children and adolescents involve sports. Of that percentage, 10-20 percent of all sports-related injuries affect the jaw and face.
Of the seven million sports-related injuries that occur each year, more than half of them are sustained by youth players as young as five years old according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2013 it was estimated that more than three million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events.
A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry found that oral injuries for female athletes exceed those in males.
Even with all of these alarming statistics, 67 percent of parents admitted that their children do not wear a protective mouthguard while participating in sporting events.
Suffering dental damage during a game can lead to decay, periodontal disease, or even tooth loss. Studies show that damage to baby teeth can lead to permanent damage and interfere with tooth growth and jawbone development.
Young athletes protect themselves during sports by wearing helmets, shin guards, and gloves – so why not wear something to protect their teeth?
Mouth guards are available at drug stores in the “boil and bite” variety or can be custom made by your child’s dentist.
The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard while participating in acrobatics, baseball, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, softball, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling. The ADA also recommends wearing a mouthguard during all practices and competitions.
Some research even suggests that a properly fitted mouthguard may help reduce the rate of concussion in addition to dental injuries.
As young players continue to grow, tooth position and jaw size will also experience changes. Regular dentist visits and mouthguard checks work to keep young mouths safe.
After reading the facts, will you be scheduling your child a mouthguard dentist visit before next season? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!