Dental Protection During Sports

23 Apr, 2014

By Loop Reader



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Submitted by Richard Elias, DMD, MD, Mamaroneck Oral Surgery


What is this?


Sports safety is a concern for many parents.  Have you ever seen a child slide into home plate or get hit in the face with a ball?  Kids love running around, getting dirty and exerting their energy.  But that doesn’t mean they should have to suffer the consequences of a sports injury.

Recently, many football players discovered they are suffering from long term head injuries due to untreated concussions that occurred when they were children.  With this as a recent concern for athletes, head injury protection is becoming a top priority for children.  But dental protection is just as important.

According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury occurring in sports.  A hit in the face or a fall can lead to serious oral injury.

There are three types of oral injury: fracture, avulsion, and luxation.  A fracture occurs when just a part of the tooth is chipped or broken.  An avulsion is when the entire tooth, including the root, is taken out of the mouth.  Finally, luxation occurs when the tooth is still inside the socket but was moved into the wrong position.

In order to prevent any of these injuries from occurring, one must take the proper precautions.  Having the appropriate equipment is essential.  Helmets, shin guards, athletic cups, and knee pads are only some of the protective equipment commonly used by athletes.  However, a mouth guard is rarely seen as a mandatory piece of equipment.

The use of mouth guards are essential for the protection of teeth.   According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, mouth guards prevent an estimated 20,000 oral injuries in the U.S. every year.  An oral injury can be detrimental but mouth guards are very useful in preventing these injuries.

If an injury does occur, it is important to take your child to the dentist immediately.  Waiting until their activity is over will only worsen the injury and hurt their health.  Oral injuries are 100% preventable through the use of mouth guards.


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