The recent Life, etc. article “Play it safe” offered a guide to sports injuries. The article failed to mention injuries to the face and mouth.
The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that athletes involved in contact sports have a 10 percent chance of sustaining a mouth injury each season. Over the course of an athletic career, up to 50 percent of young athletes will sustain such an injury. Many of these injuries are preventable with mouthguards. Children and teens who do not wear a mouthguard are 60 times more likely to suffer injuries to teeth than those who do. Yet, two-thirds of parents admit their children don’t wear mouthguards.
Despite the fact that most oral injuries happen in sports like basketball, football, lacrosse and hockey, even volleyball, gymnastics, biking or jumping on a trampoline can result in lost or injured teeth.
Mouthguards are relatively inexpensive and can be easily custom-fitted by a pediatric or family dentist. There also are off-the-shelf varieties that offer some protection for children too young for a custom mouthguard. So, as school begins again, parents and coaches should add mouthguards to their list of ways to protect young people from injuries.
Ronald Venezie, DDS