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Should all athletes wear mouthpieces?

Should all athletes wear mouthpieces

Should all athletes wear mouthpieces?

About $500 million is spent annually replacing or treating teeth due to dental injuries, with about 13-39% of these injuries being sport-related. Male athletes more commonly experience these injuries verses female athletes. As expected, the highest rate of injury come from contact sports – like hockey and lacrosse.

It would be expected for football to would rank in the top 3 sports for dental injuries too, but football players at high school and collegiate levels are required to use mouthpieces during games. Surprisingly, the NFL has not followed suit and the use of mouth protection is not included as “recommended” or “optional” equipment in the 2022 NFL Rulebook.

So which sport has the highest rate of dental injury? Basketball! Most of the injuries players sustain are caused by hand or elbow contact to the mouth. Given how physical the sport is, it only makes sense for a mouthguard to be used. However, mouth pieces are not required (only suggested) for players at almost every level.

Ways to prevent injury

A custom made athletic mouthguard serves as a great protector to athletes of all ages. Not only does it work as a shock absorber to limit impact to teeth, it can also protect soft tissues like the tongue and inner cheeks.

The mouthguard rules for sports vary depending on sport organization, state, and even within teams. The American Dental Association has outlined sporting/recreational activities in which mouthguard use is recommended.

Facts about sport-related dental injuries

– The #1 injured tooth are the two front teeth (maxillary central incisors).

– Trauma that occurs to a child’s baby teeth can affect their growing permanent tooth.

– Non-contact sports can also cause dental injury! While the level of injury may be less severe, its possibility is still something to be aware of

– Protective gear must be put on correctly for it to work. Teach your team or child how to properly put on all gear and double check for correctness (especially for those new to the sport).

If you or your child sustain a sports-related dental injury, contact Dr. Monteiro right away! Untreated dental injuries may result in long-term damage if not taken care of quickly. Please don’t wait – call River Oaks Dental at 904-348-0416.