Going back to school in Texas means sports season is about to be in full swing. Your kids’ first concern may be leading their team to victory, but at Lynn Dental Care, our first concern is keeping them safe along the way. Out of sports injuries, 39 percent affect teeth and it is important to realize high contact sports, such as football and hockey, are not the only ones to blame. In fact, athletes who play basketball and soccer, which are sports who do not require much protective gear, are at the highest risk for injury. Injuries to the mouth, teeth, and jaw can be extremely painful and difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can protect your young athlete’s smile this season.
Mouthguards are the most common and perhaps most effective way to protect young athletes’ teeth and jaws. These pieces of equipment fit inside the mouth to protect the teeth, jaw, lips, tongue, and cheeks from injury when hit by large objects. They come in three varieties: stock, boil & bite, and custom. Stock mouthguards come in three sizes and cannot be customized to an individual mouth. Boil & bite mouthguards are meant to be softened with hot water so young athletes can bit down to mold the guard to their mouth. These two types of mouthguards are cheaper than custom mouthguards, but tend to be less effective. Custom mouthguards are designed by a dentist or orthodontist to be custom fit to an individual mouth. Although, mouthguards prevent nearly 200,000 mouth and jaw injuries every year, only four high school sports have made them mandatory. Whether you opt for a cost effective or custom-fit mouthguard, there’s no doubt that any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard.
Helmets are a must-have for any sport which involve speed and potential impact. They are required for football, hockey, biking, and skating, but that doesn’t mean that they do not have benefits for kids participating in other sports. Not only do helmets provide better protection for the athlete’s mouth and jaw, but they also help to prevent serious head injuries. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that making helmets universally mandatory could save a life every day. Whether your child is a wide receiver or a short stop, wearing the appropriate protective headgear has a lot of safety benefits to offer.
Faceguards or face cages are devices made of metal or plastic which are attached to helmets to provide extra protection. This prevents trauma to the face from incoming objects. While this piece of equipment is worn less often, they are absolutely essential for athletes playing specific sports positions, such as a hockey goalie or baseball catcher. This protection prevents fast flying objects from causing injury to the face, mouth, and jaw. Failing to wear a faceguard, when appropriate, puts athletes at a 35 percent higher chance of suffering a facial, oral, or dental injury. So when your kids gear up, make sure they don’t forget the necessary safety equipment.
Americans spend nearly $500 million on sports related injuries every year. By wearing the appropriate equipment to protect your mouth and jaw, you can avoid unnecessary pain, fuss, and expenses. If you have young athletes getting ready to compete this fall, do not wait another moment to bring them to Lynn Dental Care. We will give you and your kids expert advice and custom fit equipment to protect their winning smile all season long.