The madness of March is right around the corner, and 68 NCAA Division I basketball teams will go head to head over the course of three weeks to determine the national champion — and you know what that means: excitement, upsets, and kids and adults alike heading out to have fun on the courts themselves.
Getting involved in any athletic activity is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Whether you are 8 or 58, sports offer an excellent form of active entertainment and exercise, but they also pose a threat to your oral health.
What the Stats Say
According to a new study*, playing sports comes with the heightened risk of dental and orofacial injuries:
- Each year more than 5 million teeth are knocked out of their sockets as a result of trauma.
- Basketball, football, hockey, martial arts, and boxing have the highest tooth-injury risk.
- Soft-tissue lacerations are the most common mouth and face injuries that occur during sports activities.
- Dental trauma can include tooth fracture, tooth loss, or injury resulting in a loose tooth.
Protect Your Teeth with a Mouthguard
The added risk to your dental health doesn’t mean you or your loved ones should shy away from playing sports. There are protective measures you can take to dramatically reduce the chances of damaging your teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a mouthguard for all children and youth participating in any organized sports activities, including the following:
This recommendation is suitable for adults as well. In fact, according to the ADA, sports mouthguards have been shown to reduce the risk of sports-related dental injuries. Statistics show* that the overall rate of an orofacial injury is 1.6 to 1.9 times higher when a mouthguard is not worn. And while basketball and baseball are two sports in which dental and facial trauma are relatively common, participants rarely wear protection. Fortunately, famous athletes like Stephen Curry and LeBron James are great examples of athletes who are rocking mouthguards and killing it on the court.
So before you test your skills on the court, consider the example they have set. Having a dental provider fit you with a mouthguard that is resilient, comfortable, and durable could mean the difference between keeping or losing your teeth in a sports-related incident.
To find out more about mouthguards, call your a Riccobene Associates Family Dental office to talk to a provider today!
*Young, E., Macias, R., Stephens, L. Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 2013;20(10):1-6.