As specialists in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Tracht, Dr. Briskie, their associates and staff often address parents’ concerns regarding the oral health of their children. Today, we are sharing information about how to protect children who play sports.
April is National Facial Protection Month and we’d like to remind our patients -- as well as parents, coaches and athletes -- to play it safe as they prepare to suit up for recreational and organized sports this spring and summer.
A child’s mouth and face can be easily injured if the proper precautions are not used while playing sports. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of the 7 million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by children as young as 5.
In a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), 67 percent of parents admitted that their children do not wear a mouth guard while playing sports and athletes who do not wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth.
The survey also found that 84 percent of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them. However, these same children may be required to wear other protective materials, such as helmets and shoulder pads. Mouth guards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available and not only can they save teeth, they can also help protect jaws. Children wearing braces have slightly higher risk of oral injuries, including mouth lacerations, if their braces are hit by a ball or another player.
An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth and,depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. By wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries can be prevented. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.
Consider these tips before your child hits the playing field:
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent injury to a person’s jaw, mouth and teeth. They are significantly less expensive than the cost to repair an injury. The staff at Dr. Tracht and Dr. Briskie’s office can make customized mouth guards to fit a patient’s mouth.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact and help prevent damage to the head.
- Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable to damage, especially when playing sports.
- Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketballs and racquetballs can cause severe facial damage at any age.
Do you have questions about mouth guards or how best to protect your athletic child? Give Dr. Tracht and Dr. Briskie, specialists in pediatric dentistry, a call or schedule an appointment.
Check out why mouth guards offer more protection for athletes than bubble wrap in this video by the American Association of Orthodontists!