Protecting your child’s teeth during sports play

With the fall sports season in full swing and winter sports on the horizon, the American Dental Association (ADA) is raising awareness about the importance of protecting our children’s pearly whites from preventable sports injuries.

The ADA is encouraging parents and coaches to promote the use of mouth guards as a simple and effective way to keep teeth safe.

“It’s important for dentists to encourage their patients to wear a mouth guard because all it takes is one elbow to the jaw or a stray puck to the mouth to destroy their smile,” said Dr. Ruchi Nijjar Sahota, an ADA spokeswoman in a news release. “Dentists should talk to their patients about the variety of mouth guards available and help them select what’s best for them.”

According to the ADA, athletes who don’t wear mouth guards are 60 percent more likely to damage their teeth than those who wear them. A survey taken by the American Association of Orthodontists found that 67 percent of parents admitted their children don’t wear mouth guards during organized sports.

As kids hit the field, sports injuries are unfortunately common. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency departments each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

The ADA said that parents need to consider a mouth guard as essential as any other piece of sports equipment. At a time when a good football helmet or hockey stick may cost $200 each, mouth guards can be one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available, the ADA said.

The ADA recommends parents consult with their dentist on what type of mouth guard to choose and for instructions on proper fit.

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