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Using Mouthguard for the Safety of Your Child

Aug 17, 2007
Chances are, a child in your family probably participates in some kind of sporting activity, either in team sports or simply riding a bike. Over two million teeth are knocked out every year in the U.S. largely during sporting activities. Wearing a mouthguard could have prevented many of these incidents.

The Academy of General Dentistry says that:
1) A hockey puck can reach 120 mph and hit teeth with a force of 1250 pounds.
2) Dental rehab for a knocked-out tooth may be 20 times the cost of a professional mouthguard.
3) Dental injuries are more than 60 times more likely to occur without a mouthguard.
4) Sports players have a 1-in-10 chance of sustaining a face or dental injury during a season.

A mouthguard is made of soft plastic and it should be customized to fit snugly around the upper teeth. Although many sports do not require the use of a mouthguard, it is usually strongly recommended.

It makes sense that participants in high-contact sports like football and hockey should wear mouth or face protection. However, we also encourage the use of mouthguards during any activity where physical contact or a risk of a fall is possible, some of which include: Skiing, Horseback Riding, Rugby, Wrestling, Handball, Volleyball, Riding a bike, Racquetball, Martial arts, Soccer, Baseball,
Trampolining, Skateboarding, Softball, Gymnastics, Tennis, Basketball, and Surfing.

A mouthguard can save your child from painful injuries. If your child is involved in a contact sport, you expect to pay for pads, helmets and any other protective device necessary. However, the importance of protecting the mouth may be overlooked, despite the dramatic effects a facial injury may have on appearance and self-confidence.

A mouthguard is an easy way to protect a child's mouth by:
1) Preventing the risk of injury to the upper front teeth.
2) Lowering the risk of damage to the jaw and teeth when the jaws snap.
3) Reducing the risk of cuts and bruises to the cheeks, lips and tongue.
4) Protecting the teeth and gums for children who wear removable orthodontic appliances (these should not be worn during physical activity as the appliances may dislodge, blocking the airway).
5) Absorbing the force of a blow to the lower jaw, therefore lowering the risk of concussion.

Two or more concussions can affect the mental ability of a teenager for years, and has worse affects on kids with learning disabilities. If you plan to purchase a mouthguard for your child, why not consider wearing one yourself and suggesting it to other members of your family?

Let your loved ones know about the risks of oral and facial injury during active sports so they can make informed decisions as to whether a mouthguard is right for them. Your dentist will show you how to select the best mouthguard, and how to encourage your child to use it! If you have any questions or would like to learn more about mouthguards, please contact your dentist.
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