Youth sports participation has skyrocketed over the last twenty-five years, with the number seeming to grow exponentially from year to year. As the number of participants has grown incredibly, so have the number of injuries. As frightening as it might sound, one specific study found that 36% of the children participating suffered some form of injury. While that might be unsettling in the least, a whopping 20% of those injuries were to the mouth. These percentages come by way of the American Dental Association. They also made a point of saying that while the percentages speak volumes, so do the raw numbers. Today, more than 25 million kids are playing sports. Think about that for a minute.
Due to those figures and the number of injuries to the mouth that occur, the American Dental Association recommends that all kids participate in contact sports with a mouthguard in. Some might be surprised as to what a contact sport qualifies. They include lacrosse, martial arts, basketball, soccer, field hockey, football, volleyball, wrestling, rugby, and even skateboarding. Considered crucial, mouthguards offer a level of protection to the lips, tongue, and teeth. In fact, they help to absorb any contact with the mouth. Here at Excel Dental our professional staff will be glad to take measurements of your child’s mouth to make sure the mouthpiece will fit correctly and not irritate their mouth.
Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?
Seven years of age is the recommended age to start wearing a mouthguard according to the American Dental Association. They make this recommendation for both competitive sports and recreational sports and suggest they are worn for practices and during game time to ensure proper protection. The mouthguard provides protection for both the upper and lower jaws, teeth, and soft tissues such as the tongue, gums, and inner lining of the cheek. While they may take a bit of time to get used to, they help athletes of any age avoid injuries.
Why Wear a Mouthguard?
When a ball or part of another player strikes someone in the mouth, there can be considerable damage, the injuries ranging from a cut to the inside of the cheek or tongue to chipping or fracturing numerous teeth. It is important to realize that with fractures or chips, there could be underlying damage to both the root of the tooth as well as the gum structure.
An avulsion occurs when the tooth is completely knocked out. This too can cause extensive damage to supportive structures to not only the tooth knocked out but to the surrounding teeth as well. A partially extruded tooth means it is no longer in the proper position within the tooth socket. A tooth that looks either much shorter or longer than it should when compared to adjacent teeth is indicative of this.
Types of Mouthguards
Believe it or not, there are a few different types of mouthguards. And while there are differences, the main function is the same. That function is to protect teeth and soft tissues from injuries. There the ‘stock’ type of mouthguard which is the one size fits all types as well as a boil and bite style. The last kind is a custom-made one which is based on the patient’s oral cavity measurements. At our office Excel Dental we can discuss the best type of mouthguard for your child. Give us a call at (360) 369-3930 for an appointment.