Did you know that April was National Facial Protection Month? Brave as we appear in front of the kids, we all know how alarming it can be when nosebleeds, bumps, or bruises leave a mark on their precious faces. If your children play sports, the likelihood for injury is that much higher.
Parents out there, raise your hands if your child has ever gotten a chipped or dislocated tooth? Your numbers are high. Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Administration estimated 3 million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events. Kids who wear braces are even more vulnerable, though their risk is only slightly higher.
The thing is, preventing oral injury is not only possible, but easy. Send young athletes into the field wearing a protective mouth guard. It’s inexpensive and unobtrusive, and its use prevents over 200,000 oral injuries a year, according to the American Dental Association.
A mouth guard should be right in line with the helmet, shoulder pads, and knee pads. The majority of kids don’t wear them during games and matches because they aren’t required to. It’s not one of the rules of the game to wear one, and according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, 67 percent of parents do not insist on mouth guard use by their children. But here are just a few more reasons why all of that should change:
- Athletes who do not wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.
- Mouth guards protect the jaws as well as the mouth, and in addition to the teeth, mouth guards protect the lips, cheeks, and tongue.
- It costs much less to repair a fitted mouthguard than to repair a knocked-out tooth.
Remember, store-bought mouthguards may be ill-fitted and uncomfortable. Dentists may easily make a protective and cohesive, custom mouth guard made from an impression of your child’s teeth. Ask your dentist about creating a mouth guard for your little athlete today!