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The Importance of Mouthguards for Students in Contact Sports

Mansfield Orthodontist, Dr. Rick Herrmann reveals that one aspect to think about in the back-to-school rush is the mouthguard. As children and adolescents are heading into different sports and practices in the fall season, many need to become more aware of the necessity of a mouthguard. Though he fields questions mostly from concerned parents, he reveals that students are playing sports, particularly contact sports, should wear a mouthguard. This protects the teeth and gums during games and practices.

Dr. Herrmann indicates that if a student participates in a contact sport like football or other recreational activities, there is a 10% chance they will become injured with a dental or facial injury. This often occurs on the field. He also indicates that nearly a third of all dental injuries are directly related to sports. Luckily, these injuries are often preventable with a mouthguard. The Academy of General Dentistry reveals that children and athletes in general will be 70 times more likely to have dental damage if they are not wearing a mouthguard during practice. A mouthguard is necessary for athletes because it acts as a cushion during impact. This cushioning effect prevents trauma to the face, jaw, tongue, teeth, and lips. It will also prevent the teeth from breaking or chipping if there is violent contact. It can also help prevent teeth from being knocked out completely. Mouthguards can also prevent jaw fractures.

If the child is wearing braces, it is even more vital that they wear a mouthguard. Students with braces who participate in contact sports should wear a mouthguard both at practice and while participating in games. Conn indicates that many sports injuries are exacerbated by braces. This occurs because the soft tissue of the mouth is often in contact with the steel of the braces. The mouthguard acts as a cushion between them, preventing damage and lacerations. Many orthodontists will provide specialized mouthguards to students with braces so they can still participate in the sport they love without injuring their smile.

The American Dental Association even suggests that younger children wear mouthguards during contact sports. In a study the association conducted, they discovered that as many as 3.5 million sports-related injuries happen to children under five. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation revealed that each year more than 3 million teeth are knocked out of the mouths of children under five. If the students are in contact sports, they should wear a mouthguard as soon as their adult teeth begin to grow in. This occurs typically when the child is 6 or seven years old.

Dr. Herrmann reveals that mouthguards should simply be considered another piece of necessary sports equipment instead of an optional piece of equipment. It is inexpensive by comparison and can often help the student reduce the risk of injury. To protect the children and teens, adults should add a mouthguard to the back-to-school supply list if their child is in a contact sport.

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, please contact our team at Rick Herrman Orthodontics. We serve the Orthodontic needs of Mansfield, Arlington, Burleson, and nearby areas.  At Rick Herrmann Orthodontics, your new smile is only a call away!

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