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Skip Sports Injuries

By Jill Feilmeier on February 14, 2013 in Kid's Health

men playing volleyball

You want your child to be safe – both on and off the field. But sports injuries are common. More than half of the seven million sports and recreation-related injuries reported annually are sustained by youth – some as young as age 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) estimated that more than three million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events in the United States. They also reported that athletes who don't wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Yet a recent survey of parents commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists found that 67% of their children don't wear mouth guards during organized sports.
Mouth guards are among the least expensive pieces of equipment. They not only save teeth, mouth guards can also protect the jaw. A good mouth guard covers teeth and gums and allows for normal speech and breathing. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following preventive measures for kids' sports:

  • All youth participating in contact and collision sports should wear protective mouth guards.
  • A certified face protector is recommended for boys and girls ages 12 and younger who participate in baseball and softball and should be required for youths ages 13 through high-school age.
  • Children should wear a mouth guard when participating in an activity where they may accidentally fall or run into a wall or other players. These sports include basketball, soccer, football, karate, softball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, and gymnastics.

Help your kiddo keep their teeth for a lifetime and insist on a mouth guard. They may not be the best looking equipment to wear but they look better than a toothless smile!