As the start of the school year rapidly approaches, it’s time once again for our annual blog on the importance of custom-fitted sports guards. In the last year alone, over 2.6 million children suffered a sports-related injury, requiring emergency room consultation.
Surprisingly, however, most parents fail to take advantage of one of the most inexpensive forms of sports protection — a mouth guard.
If your child plays any one of the sports listed here, a mouth guard is essential. This includes football, hockey, basketball and wrestling. However, most parents are unaware of the fact that even sports with little to no contact can pose serious risk to the oral cavity.
The hidden risk of cheerleading
One of the most dangerous sports for younger girls is cheerleading. In the past 25 years, this activity has grown dramatically, and participation is now at an all-time high. While traditional cheerleading is still popular, a newer type of cheer has been gaining in popularity. Called competitive cheering, this new sport represents one of the most hazardous activities in the nation, accounting for over 60% of oral sports injuries in females. Wearing a mouth guard could do much to bring these national statistics way down.
Low contact sports need mouth guards, too
Soccer is another contact sport in which few players wear mouth guards. Yet, it qualifies as a contact sport, and in addition to baseball and basketball, accounts for over 50% of all sports-related ER visits.
Even volleyball players should be wearing mouth guards. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) reported that last year over 100,000 players suffered concussions caused by head-to-head collisions. Unfortunately, much like cheerleading and soccer, most parents of volleyball players fail to recognize the danger this sport poses to the gums and teeth.
Mandatory with braces
Regardless of your child’s preferred sport, if he or she wears braces, a mouth guard should be mandatory. One out of every three parents reports that their child had some orthodontic work or wore braces while playing sports. But with braces, children can sustain serious mouth lacerations if they are hit in the face. And these injuries can result in even further repair and costly orthodontic treatment.
Compared to other protective gear, mouth guards are one of the most affordable pieces of equipment a parent can buy. Over-the counter boil and bite appliances cost as little as five dollars. But it’s a waste of five dollars if your child is not going to wear it. So put something in their mouth that you know they’re going to use. Custom mouth guards by Cindy Flanagan, DDS perfectly match the unique shape of your individual oral cavity and many times can be made so that they hardly show.
Call Cindy Flanagan, DDS today to ensure your junior athlete has a safe and successful sports season.