This guest post has been provided by American Association of Orthodontists. Opinions are of the author.
Eighty four percent of children do not wear mouth guards while playing organized sports because they are not required to wear them, according to a study by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment; some store-bought options can be purchased for less than $20.
?These statistics show that many young athletes are in danger of injuring, or even losing, their teeth,? according to Morris Poole, DDS, president of the AAO. ?They need to wear mouth guards consistently for all sports, including basketball and soccer,? he notes. Dentists and dental specialists such as orthodontists can make custom mouth guards, which generally provide the most protection and greatest comfort. Other less-expensive options are boil-and-bite mouth guards, which are softened in boiling water to fit the mouth. There are also ready-to-wear stock mouth guards, but these may be uncomfortable, and may not fit well.
The AAO recommends the following tips for wearing mouth guards:
- Be sure the mouth guard is comfortable. If it isn?t, shop around for one that is.
- Look for a mouth guard that is durable, tear-resistant and easy to clean.
- Make sure the mouth guard stays in place. No one wants to worry about a loose mouth guard during a game.
- Select a mouth guard that does not restrict breathing or speech.
- Wear the mouth guard at every practice and every game.
Remember, mouth guards cannot protect teeth and jaws if they are not worn!
For more information on protecting your teeth during sports, visit www.mylifemysmile.org.