The mouth and face can easily be injured if proper precautions are not used during sports or recreational activities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, more than seven million sports and recreation-related injuries occur each year, and more than half of those injuries are sustained by youth ages 5-24.
In addition, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimated more than three million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events in the U.S. in 2012. This same group reported that athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth.
Unfortunately, a large number of children do not wear mouthguards. In fact, 67 percent of parents surveyed admitted their children do not wear a mouthguard during organized sports, according to a survey by the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year.
Parents and coaches are urged to be proactive to keep children safe on the field. Here are important tips to remember:
? A mouthguard may be one of the least expensive pieces of sports equipment available, and it will do double duty to help protect teeth and the jaw as well. Dentists can make custom mouthguards, which provide the best fit, and can often be made in team colors. Other options include the "boil and bite" mouthguards or stock mouthguards. Parents are encouraged to bring their child in for a consultation with a dentist to determine the best option for their child's particular needs.
? All youth should wear a mouthguard if they participate in contact sports where a fall or collision could occur. Such sports include baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, basketball, skateboarding, football, karate and hockey.
? Wear a helmet during sports to absorb the energy of an impact and to help prevent damage to the head.
? Wear protective eyewear and face shields.
Start the sports season out right by visiting your dentist for advice on a properly fitted mouthguard. Remember, summer is also a great time to schedule children's regular dental exams. Good oral health habits and proper safety measures can help you keep smiling all year long.
Both locations in Fond du Lac will host mouthguard clinics to provide custom mouthguards to local middle and high school athletes for just $10. Learn more at midwest-dental.com/fonddulac.
? Midwest Dental - Fond du Lac is located at 885 Western Ave. Dr. Danielle Pike and Dr. John Welch will host mouthguard clinics July 29 to Aug. 9. Call 923-6766 to schedule an appointment.
? Midwest Dental - Fond du Lac East is located at 535 E. Division St. Dr. Adam Meinhardt will host mouthguard clinics Aug. 10-12. Call 921-8950 to schedule an appointment.