Football, soccer and volleyball programs are in full swing across the country, and with most contact sports, injuries are inevitable, especially to the mouth and face.
A recent study conducted by Delta Dental shows most children and teenagers do not wear mouthguards during most sporting events. More than 70% of youth do not wear mouth protection during basketball, soccer or baseball, resulting in millions of at-risk children for sports-related oral injuries.
Most non-school-related sports programs in Idaho require the use of mouthguards, as do many sanctioned athletic programs. However, some sports that do not require a mouthguard can also cause serious injuries.
Among cuts and lacerations on the cheeks, gums and lips, fractures to the cheekbone and jawbone can happen as a result of not wearing a mouthguard.
Dr. Ross Hugues, a pediatric dentist for Dentistry of Pocatello, says he’s seen injuries of all kinds, many of them from sports that don’t require a mouthguard.
“The number one sport for facial injury is baseball. It doesn’t always have to be physical contact with another human being. Anytime you have an object coming at your face, it could cause injury,” Hugues
Among oral injuries, Hugues also suggests wearing a mouthguard can even help reduce the severity of a concussion. Mouthguards allow for more absorption during contact, decreasing pressure in a localized area in any head trauma.
So, whether you’re kicking, spiking or hitting a ball, a mouthguard can save you a trip to the dentist.