According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 7 million sports- and recreation-related injuries occur each year, and over half of them are experienced by children. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation forecasts that over 3 million teeth will be knocked out annually during youth sporting events. They also report that competitors without mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage teeth.
Although mouthguards are a relatively inexpensive way to decrease the risk of oral injury during sporting activities, most kids don’t wear them. In a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists, 67% of parents admitted their children play without.
The American Dental Association and the International Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouthguards for more than 30 activities. Most parents understand the importance for sports like football, hockey and wrestling. Far fewer recognize the very real need for mouth and jaw protection in activities like baseball, soccer and basketball—even though the CDC reports that these sports along with football account for roughly 80% of sports-related emergency room visits in children ages 5 to 14.
Mouthguards vary in cost and quality. A stock mouthguard is the least expensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. A custom mouthguard is made especially for your child by your dentist. Because it’s created from an impression of your child’s teeth, it fits tightly, feels more comfortable and provides the most stability.
We are happy to visit with you about your options and the most appropriate plan for safeguarding your child athlete. The cost of a mouthguard is far less expensive (and far less painful) than the treatment required after a blow to unprotected teeth.