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How to Limit Dental Injuries in Sports

Posted on August 25, 2011 | in Dentistry for Kids | by

Mouthguards Guard Your Childs Grill

A Custom Fit Mouthguard From Your Dentist Offers The Best Protection

Participation in youth sports teaches our kids such important life lessons that we as adults often forget, or maybe fail to practice as much as we should.

Seemingly simple ideas like working together toward a common goal, learning sportsmanship, and most of all – having fun, often get lost in the experience of youth sports when adults start messing up the situation.

Of course we all learn from our parents, but it seems in the past few decades the parents are the ones that need some extra help and discipline when it comes to kids in sports.

We won’t waste our time here highlighting shameful examples of little league moms and dads doing their best to simultaneously embarrass their families, sports organizations, and local community by acting like poorly behaved children.

What we’ll concentrate on with this dental dissertation will be the ubiquitous mouthguard…and how parents should make sure their kids are wearing one.

The sports dentistry and mouthguard subject has been previously discussed, or at least marginally broached, in this dental forum.

No matter if it’s a $400 custom fit job from the dentist, or the boil & bite deal from the local sporting goods store, a properly fitted mouthguard will certainly limit severity and help protect against further injury to the mouth, teeth, and face.

How Do You Know If A Mouthguard Is Properly Fitted?

Ask your dentist!

If it’s not in their mouth, it is of no use.

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to the professionals at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Check out the article titled, Sports dental injuries are no laughing matter, by clicking the link.

“Basketball and baseball are the two biggest mouth-injuring sports,” says Stephen Mitchell, D.M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

“And the most common injuries we see are broken, displaced or knocked out teeth, and broken jaws.”

The UAB article’s author, Jennifer Lollar, goes on to mention some pretty staggering facts concerning kids and sports.

According to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General, craniofacial injuries sustained during sporting activities are a major source of nonfatal injury and disability in children and adults, accounting for up to one-third of all sports injuries.

The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that more than 3 million teeth will be knocked out in youth sporting activities this year.

Are Custom-Fit Mouthguards Expensive?

This info also relates to parents pocketbooks.

A properly fitted mouthguard can significantly reduce initial injury and lessen the severity of craniofacial injury – do we need to reference that?

Only your dentist can determine the perfect fit and provide the answers necessary to best protect your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw, when they’re out playing sports this season.

So it’s simple – talk to your dentist before your child takes the field.

Ensure your child is wearing their mouthguard at all times. It should be second nature; it should not be uncomfortable or difficult to speak.

Remain diligent…like “Do your homework”  and “take out the garbage” diligent, and you won’t have the pleasure of forking over thousands of dollars for oral surgery on knocked out teeth, wiring and milkshakes with broken jaws, or CAT scans and MRIs caused by concussions.

The overwhelming theme…talk to your dentist about a properly fitted mouthguard before your kids take to the field or court this season.

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+Chris Barnard is Managing Editor of DentalPatientNews.com, a patient-centric Social Dental Network blog dedicated to enabling the digital dental health conversation - and the eradication of the cavity creeps.
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