As Houston parents, teachers and students are beginning to think about all they will need for the start of the school year, some are realizing that they will need to make plans for organized sports. The fall school sports season is always fun and full of excitement, but it also has the potential for injury if proper care is not taken. While it is fun to pick out new gear and try on new clothes or uniforms for sporting events, one thing that should not be missed by students is the need for mouthguards. Many thoughtful parents and even some students have begun asking about the need for mouthguards, and dental practitioners have plenty of advice to give in this area. In general, dentists and orthodontists follow the recommendations of most current research that shows that mouthguards help any student athlete participating in a contact sport or even a practice for a contact sport.
Advantages of Wearing Mouthguards
The benefits of wearing this mouthguard are many. Injuries to the mouth and face can happen deceptively easily during contact sports when these areas are not protected. In fact, statistics show that any student athlete has a 1 in 10 chance of sustaining a mouth or facial injury while playing contact sports. Additionally, approximately one in three oral or dental injuries happen due to these sports.
Thankfully, most of these injuries can be prevented by student athletes who take the correct precautions. Further statistics by the Academy of General Dentistry show that those who do not wear mouthguards while playing contact sports are 70 times more likely than their peers are to injure their teeth.
A mouthguard protects many parts of the mouth, including the lips, tongue and jaw in addition to the teeth. The incidence of jaw fractures is significantly lowered when wearing a mouthguard. In particular, mouthguards can protect teeth from becoming chipped, cracked, loosened or lost.
Mouthguards and Braces
Mouthguards are even more important for student athletes who wear braces. This is because the edges of metal or ceramic braces are hard and sharp and can significantly injure soft tissues of the mouth and lips when pushed against them. The mouthguard protects the mouth’s soft tissues from touching the braces, protecting the cheeks and lips from cuts and bleeding or even worse injuries. Mouthguards can be made to fit around the braces so that both good orthodontic care and youth sporting events can continue.
Mouthguards for Young Student Athletes
Although most people think of mouthguards being best for students in their teenage years, they can actually be quite beneficial for younger students as well. This includes even those who are as young as five because half of oral sports injuries happen to younger players, according to the American Dental Association. Around three million teeth are knocked out of their sockets due to youth injuries at sporting events according to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation. A mouthguard can help to prevent these injuries whenever there are permanent teeth to protect. This should happen from the age of six or seven at minimum, which is when most children have permanent teeth erupting. Parents who are concerned about the health of their children’s teeth should speak to their pediatric dentists or orthodontists about this.
While students and parents are buying sports equipment for the new fall sporting season, they should also take time to ask about mouthguards, which are just as important if not more so than the other equipment is. Mouthguards should appear on a majority of students’ back-to-school shopping lists. If you are uncertain as to what type of mouthguard your child needs, visit the Texas Orthodontic Specialists for more information.