Between July 27th and August 6th, the nation’s largest multi-sport youth event, the 2016 AAU Junior Olympics, will be taking place in our home city! This event offers a time to see young athletes compete in many activities from baton twirling to karate. While thrilling, this event is also a red flag for all the dentists in the city.
Dentists + Sports
Sporting events open the door to several dental-related injuries.13-39% of all dental injuries are sports-related, and 5 million teeth are lost annually in sports-related injuries. Common sports-related dental injuries include facial bone fractures, tooth intrusion, tooth extrusion, and displaced teeth. During sporting activities you are taking the risk of a tooth smashing up into your gums (intrusion), a tooth pulling out of the gums (extrusion), or losing teeth altogether. If this is the case, then why are kids still playing sports?
We manage the risks involved in sports activities through the equipment we wear. In a few weeks, at the Junior Olympics, the athletes will showcase many types of protective gear. Wearing helmets and shin guards is common practice in events like football and field hockey. We see the pads and helmets and shoes, but what we can’t see are the mouthguards that the athletes use. Mouthguards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips, and cheeks, as well as the harder parts of the mouth like teeth and jaw bones. These accessories cushion blows to the face, absorbing the shock and decreasing the risks of oral injury. Additionally, mouthguards protect dental gear like braces and bridges. Fitted mouthguards shield these appliances from facial blows and ensure their safety.
In a study of football players, 75% of all orofacial injuries occurred while the athlete refrained from mouthguard protection.
75%: that is a big percentage of injuries that are preventable with a small piece of equipment. Not only did those players experience a painful facial injury, they were also subject to the expensive dental bill that followed. Chipped teeth and broken jaws can cost thousands of dollars, but a mouthguard can be as inexpensive as $10. There are many different types of mouthguards to choose from. As mentioned, a standard mouthguard is an expensive, yet effective option. Custom-fitted mouthguards are more expensive, but can offer increased protection from injury. Vacuum-formed mouthguards are the most widely made and recommended mouthguards by dentists. These guards offer the least interference with speaking and breathing while providing the highest amount of injury protection.
Do you or your child wear a mouthguard while participating in sporting activities? Have you considered the benefits, both health-wise and budget-wise that result from wearing a mouthguard? At Greenspoint Dental we are happy to consult with you and your child on which type of mouthguard would best fit your needs!