Dental injuries in sports are very common, borderline inevitable, but they're also one of the easiest injuries to prevent. In honor of Youth Sports Safety Month and National Facial Protection Month, we've compiled some important sports dental injury data when it comes to protecting your teeth.
#1 sport with the highest number of dental injuries is basketball. [Click To Tweet]
4 sports (football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey) have mandated mouthguards by the National Federation of State High School Associations. [Click To Tweet]
13-39% of all dental injuries in children are sports related. [Click To Tweet]
31% of surveyed Florida high school varsity basketball players sustained orofacial injuries during the season. [Click To Tweet]
50% of kids participating in sports could sustain a dental injury by the time they graduate high school. [Click To Tweet]53% of surveyed Florida high school varsity basketball players reported more than one injury during the season. [Click To Tweet]
60 - The number of times that athletes are more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they're not wearing a mouth guard. [Click To Tweet]
75% of football players comply with mouthguard mandate. [Click To Tweet]
75% of all orofacial injuries occurred while the athlete refrained from mouthguard protection. [Click To Tweet]
80% of traumatic dental injuries occur to the top front teeth. [Click To Tweet]
600,000 emergency room visits each year due to sports-related dental injuries. [Click To Tweet]
5 million teeth are avulsed each year, many during sports. [Click To Tweet]
$500 million spent each year replacing teeth. [Click To Tweet]
$5,000-20,000 - Lifetime cost of an avulsed tooth [Click To Tweet]
$25 for a custom fit mouthguard.
With growing numbers of youth participants every year, sports dental injuries are on the rise. It's up to athletes, parents and coaches to think beyond the mandated rules and look at the data for themselves.
Only 4 high school sports mandate mouthguards, yet the sport with the highest number of dental injuries per season, basketball, doesn't have a mandate. This poses the obvious question: If mouthguards are proven to prevent orofacial injury, then why aren’t they required in every sport?
Basketball isn't the only sport. There are many contact sports that you wouldn't immediately identify as needing a mouthguard, but could really benefit from one. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for a lot of sports that aren't obvious such as:
Dental injuries are painful and costly, but preventing them can be as simple as wearing a well fitted mouthguard. There's multiple types of mouthguards out there varying in price, protection and comfort, but that not all mouthguards are created equally. According to the ADA, a protective mouthguard should have the following qualities:
Despite costs, a custom fit mouthguard will provide the best protection to your teeth. In 2001, a study of 301 Australian football players proved that wearing a custom fit mouthguard had a significantly lower rate of injury than those wearing an over the counter mouth guard. A design that is unique to your mouth will remain secure and provide protection to every corner and crannie of your teeth.
Eliot J. Young, C. Roger Macias, and Lindsay Stephens, Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482297/
Ramagoni NK, Singamaneni VK, Rao SR, Karthikeyan J. Sports dentistry: a review. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4304050/
Rick Knowlton, DMD, MAGD; Connie M. Kracher, PhD, MSD; Wendy Schmeling Smith, RDH, BSEd. Sports-Related Dental Injuries and Sports Dentistry. Available at: http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/continuing-education/ce127/ce127.aspx
American Dental Association. The importance of using mouthguards: tips for keeping your smile safe. JADA. Available at: http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/patient_40.ashx