Help prevent sport injuries this summer

Posted on June 4, 2009 in Dental Articles

PictureSeveral inexpensive safety precautions can help prevent costly injuriesduring the summer sport season.

A child’s mouth and face can easily be injured if the correct precautions and equipment are not used during organized sports. In fact, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits in 12 to 17 years old and a typical emergency room visit for a child can cost a lot if not prevented. A new survey, however, reveals parent do not enforce the use of some inexpensive protective sports gear, such as mouth guards, in many kids sports. Since many oral sports injuries can be prevented by wearing mouth guards, why aren’t more parents and kids getting the message?

To help educate parents, coaches, and kids a wife of football great Joe Montana and the mother of two sons Jennifer Montana, urge the athletes to “play it safe” by wearing mouth guards and other appropriate protective gear when participating in many sports and activities. 

Survey of parents to determine why many preventable face and mouth injuries are still prevalent among young athletes. Overall, the survey results showed the need for better education of parents and coaches about the risks and need for mouth guards and other protective measures in contact sports.

The survey found: 

  • PictureMouth guard use is very low – 67% of parents surveyed said that their child does not wear a mouth guard yet, 70% said that their biggest fear when their child plays organized sports is that they will get hurt. One out of every four (27%) parents surveyed said their child has sustained an injury during an organized sport that resulted in a trip to emergency room.
  • Most coaches and leagues are not advising the use of mouth guards – Of the parents whose children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports, including practice, 84% said it’s because the league or coach does not require it.
  • Many parents have misconceptions on which sports kids should wear mouth guards – The sports parents most cited that mouth guards should be required for include, football (90%), roller/ice hockey (74%) and wrestling (65%). Less than half of parents surveyed felt mouth guards were necessary for other popular contact sports, including basketball (36%), baseball/softball (37%) and soccer (45%). Only 3% said that cheerleading should require the use of mouth guards. Collision and contact sports have higher injury rates, and mouth guards should be worn in all contact sports. Specifically, baseball, soccer, basketball and footballaccount for about 80% of all sports-related emergency room visits for children between 5 and 14 years of age. Cheerleading is one of the most dangerous sports for women, accounting for 65% of all catastrophic injuries in high school girls’ atheletics.
  • Children with braces need to wear mouth guards – One out of every three (31%) parents reported that their child had orthodontic treatment or braces while playing an organized sport. Children in orthodontic treatment should wear a mouth guard during organized sports and practice. Patients can sustain mouth lacerations if braces are hit with a ball or by another player.

 Just remember these important tips:

  • Wear mouth guards for contact sports. Mouth guards can help prevent jaw, mouth and teeth injuries and are less costly than repairing an injury.
  • Wear a helmet. Helmets absorb the energy of an impact.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Eyes are extremely vulnerable.
  • Wear a face shield to avoid scratched or bruised skin. Hockey pucks, basketball, and racquet balls can do severe damage