Preventing Sports Injuries
posted: Mar. 21, 2019.
Spring has sprung. And while the weather may not have gotten the memo just yet, warm weather is on the way. With warmer weather and longer daylight hours, come spring sports and more time spent playing outside. As you gear up for your next practice or game, don’t forget your child’s mouthguard!
Each year, about 5 million Americans lose teeth in sports-related injuries. Approximately 39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. (https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/dental-injury-handout.pdf). These injuries can include avulsed teeth (complete displacement), cracked teeth, fractured roots and tooth intrusion (displacement of the tooth into the alveolar bone), as well as fractured crowns and lip and cheek injuries.
But, playing sports doesn’t have to give your child a hockey-player smile. Using a mouthguard can significantly reduce your child’s risk of obtaining a dental injury. Children playing any contact sports, such as field hockey, ice hockey, football, boxing and lacrosse are required to wear mouthguards. But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children wear mouthguards for most sports, including: baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics, acrobatics, boxing, discus throwing, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. According to the AAPD (click here to read full article), baseball and basketball have been shown to have the highest number of sports-related dental injuries in children between that ages of seven to 17 years. Baseball had the highest incident of dental injuries within the seven to 12 year-old age group and basketball led the way between the 13-17 year-old age group.
A mouthguard may be especially important for those with braces or dental work, but they are a great idea for anyone wanting to protect their teeth from potential trauma. Mouthguards act as a buffer for potential damage, but also provide a barrier between teeth/braces and cheeks, or between lips and tongue, which can limit soft tissue damage, as well.
Dental mouthguards are classified into three types:
1) Stock mouthguards - can be purchased in sporting goods and drug stores, come pre-formed and ready to wear.
2) Boil-and-bite mouthguards - most commonly used, these mouthguards are immersed in boiling water and formed in the mouth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure.
3) Custom-made mouth guards - designed by your dentist and are the best fitting and offer most protection and comfort.
All three types of mouthguards provide different levels of protection, but also come at different price-points. You should discuss your options with your pediatric dentist to determine which option will fit your needs best. Whatever your child’s sport and whatever your budget, there is a mouthguard option available. Don’t sacrifice the safety of your child’s smile. Wear a mouthguard!
If you have questions, or would like to discuss which mouth protection option is best for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. Call our office today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!