So, we’ve been talking about braces, what it’s like to wear braces, how it feels to be in braces, what you can eat when you’re in braces, but what about protecting your mouth – whether or not you are in braces?
Did you play sports as a child growing up? Do your children play sports? Did you ever wear a mouth guard? Do you make your own children wear a mouth guard?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t wear one whenever I was playing sports. Of course, my sport of choice was swimming and that’s all I did for as long as I could remember. It seems silly to even think about facial injuries while in a pool, but if you’ve ever taken a foot to the face while swimming laps then you’ll know where I’m coming from.
With that said, this is the last post for the “Brace Face” discussion series. Again, I’m featuring a guest post from Catherine Manabat and she stresses the importance of wearing mouth guards. Let me know what you think…
Help Your Kids Avoid Sports Injuries
Catherine Manabat is a guest blogger, writing on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Association of Orthodontists is a resource for parents to learn more about orthodontic treatments and provides general tips on how to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, get braces-friendly recipes, and find an orthodontist near you by using the Find an Orthodontist Locator service. Why should you choose an orthodontist? Orthodontists receive an additional two-to-three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.
Catherine is also a proud former “braceface” and smiles every day to prove it!
We all know sports are fun, but getting an injury—especially to the face or mouth—isn’t fun at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in 12 to 17 year olds. A typical emergency room visit or a child can cost anywhere from $425 to $550, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield. The good news is that many of these injuries can be avoided, just by wearing the right protective gear.
April is National Facial Protection Month, and orthodontists are encouraging athletes to wear mouth guards while participating in sports and other activities. A study was conducted among parents to figure out why face and mouth injuries are still common among young athletes, despite being preventable. Lack of knowledge, particularly about which sports and skill levels benefit from protective gear, was at the top of the list.
Another interesting finding shows that 67 percent of parents surveyed that their child did not wear a mouth guard. Of those parents whose children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports, 84 percent said it is because the league of coach does not require it. This is unfortunate because mouth guards are one the least expensive pieces of sports equipment. Over-the-counter versions cost as little as $5.00, although custom-fit mouth guards offer greater protection. An orthodontist can recommend the best mouth guard for an athlete who wears braces.
52 percent of the parents who said their kids did not wear mouth guards reasoned that their child “doesn’t need that level of protection.”
However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children wear mouth guards for all contact sports. This includes baseball, soccer, basketball and football, which account for about 80 percent of all sports-related emergency room visits for children between the ages of 5 to 14, according to the Centers for disease control. Orthodontists say mouth guards should be worn when participating in any activity where the mouth might come into contact with a hard object or the ground, to prevent facial injuries. Facial protective gear is less expensive than repairing an injury—not to mention less painful.
Perhaps your child already sees his dentist regularly, so you may think why add an extra appointment on top of their (and your) busy schedule? The answer is because orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.
Choosing an orthodontist for your child is an important decision, and the American Association of Orthodontists is here to help your growing athlete stay safe. Make an appointment to meet with an orthodontist today!