You want your child to be safe at all times. But that can feel impossible when sports injuries are so common. In fact, there are nearly seven million sports-related injuries reported annually, half of which are sustained by kids. Additionally, about 50 percent of children will have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood, many of which are preventable.
How preventable are these injuries? Well, when it comes to kids’ oral health, it’s estimated that players who don’t wear athletic mouth guards are 60 times more likely to suffer at least one cracked tooth than those who do.
Despite the evidence that kids should wear mouthguards during sports, the American Association of Orthodontist found that 84% of children playing in organized sports do not wear mouth guards.
Mouth guards are among the least expensive pieces of equipment. They not only save teeth; mouth guards can also protect the jaw. A good mouth guard covers teeth and gums and allows for normal speech and breathing. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year.
Skip Sports Injuries When It Comes to Tennis
Though tennis elbow is perhaps the most common tennis injury, dental injuries are definitely not unheard of. In fact, one woman reported that she took a backhand from her partner’s racquet right in the mouth. She ended up receiving six stitches, a root canal, and two caps. She returned to tennis after she ordered a custom mouth guard from her dentist.
Skip Sports Injuries When It Comes to Martial Arts
Proper training, coaching, and protective equipment are essential when practicing martial arts. Injuries to the head and face are common, with reports of “significant injuries of the eyes mouth or teeth.” This website for MMA fighters lists how mouthguards don’t only protect against impact to the teeth, they also protect the jaw joins, soft tissue, and neck. They can also reduce chances of concussion.
Skip Sports Injuries When It Comes to Wrestling
Injuries to the head and face are also very common with wrestling. Many wrestling organizations require mouthguards be worn during practice, but research shows that compliance is an issue, especially when it comes to kids.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following preventive measures for kids’ sports:
- All youth participating in contact and collision sports should wear protective mouth guards.
- A certified face protector is recommended for boys and girls ages 12 and younger who participate in baseball and softball and should be required for youths ages 13 through high-school age.
- Children should wear a mouth guard when participating in an activity where they may accidentally fall or run into a wall or other players. These sports include basketball, soccer, football, martial arts, softball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, and gymnastics.
Help your kiddo keep their teeth for a lifetime and make an appointment with your dentist to discuss a mouth guard. They may not be the best-looking equipment to wear, but they look better than a toothless smile! To find a dentist in your area, use our search tool.