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Mouthguards Protect Young Athletes’ Teeth

Here are some questions and answers about mouthguards:

Q. My son gets routine preventive dental care. Is that enough to keep his teeth healthy?

A. If your child participates in individual or team sports, it is also important to protect him from trauma to the mouth. Many kids suffer oral or facial injuries when they are involved in biking or skateboarding accidents or when they play basketball, baseball, football, and other team sports. The best way to handle trauma to the mouth is to prevent it from ever happening. You can do that by making sure your child wears a mouthguard every time he or she plays sports.1,2

Q.Are mouth injuries really something to worry about?

A. Broken bones or strained muscles heal, but teeth don’t. And young athletes are 60 times more likely to injure their teeth when they’re not wearing a mouthguard.1 Dentists can often use bonding, veneers, and other procedures to repair broken or damaged teeth, but the teeth are never the way they were before the injury.4

Q.My daughter plays sports and has never been hit in the mouth. Is a mouthguard really necessary?

A. Yes. People may wonder if they really need to wear seat belts until they’re in an accident and a seat belt saves their life. It’s the same thing with mouthguards. You may not realize how important a mouthguard is until your daughter is hit in the mouth and her teeth remain intact.1,2,3

Q.Are all mouthguards equally effective?

A. Custom-fit mouthguards are more effective than store-bought, stock mouthguards. Ask your dentist for advice about where to obtain custom-made mouthguards for your child. These mouthguards typically cost more than those you would buy in a store, but they are more comfortable, fit properly, and protect the teeth.1,2

1 “Protecting Teeth with Mouthguards. Journal of the American Dental Association. December 2006, vol. 137, p. 1772. http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_69.pdf Accessed 2010.

2 “Mouthguards: Frequently Asked Questions.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2713.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.

3 “Dental Emergencies.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/370.aspx Accessed 2010.

4 “Cosmetic Dentistry.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2627.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.

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