Did you know that sports accidents account for 39% of all dental injuries related to children? Back in 2012, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation in the US forecast that more than three million teeth would be knocked out in youth sporting events that year.
According to the Philadelphia Dental Arts an internationally renowned team of dentists in South Philadelphia, more than 3.5 million children ages fourteen and younger in America get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. Ages that are most susceptible to these kinds of injuries are those kids that are between the ages of seven and eleven years of age. Statistics for Australia show similar rates of dental injuries in children here.
The dental fee for proper treatment can be as high as US$10,000 to treat a single lost permanent tooth. That’s just one tooth!
And let’s not forget the pain and trauma that injury to the mouth can cause a child. The experience of going through that level of loss and pain can discourage them from pursuing the sport or activity of their choice. It can also impair them from continuing daily activities and attending school. Both physical and academic standing would be affected by a serious tooth injury.
So what is the solution? Should parents prevent their kids from engaging in sports? You already know the answer!
There is a simple and cheap way which allows children to play any sport of their choice while still keeping their pearly whites safe from harm – mouth guards.
But don’t rush to the nearest sports shop and buy the cheapest one available! Choosing the right mouth guard is an important process. Ideally, children should have custom-made guards prepared for them by their dentists. The process for this starts with the dentist making a cast of the teeth. This enables the mouth guard to stay securely in place since it is molded to perfectly fit the form of the child’s teeth. Store bought generic guards do offer some protection, but for daredevil kids and extreme sports we always recommend properly fitted dental mouth guards.
The guards that can be bought in stores are called “boil and bite.” They are basically DIY mouthguard where you soak the plastic in boiling water until it softens and then you bite on it so that moulds somewhat to your teeth. Children find it hard to bite onto hot, freshly boiled mouth guards and are rarely able get the correct form to get full protection for their teeth.
Another type of mouth guard are ones with pre-set forms which are very hard to use since you constantly have to bite down on them to prevent them from falling off. This hinders proper breathing and speaking which can distract your child from the task at hand or the sport that they are participating in.
We spoke with the team at Chandler Road Family Dental Clinic in Boronia, Melbourne. At Chandler Road they specialise in dentures, denture repair, and mouth guards so they know what’s involved when making moulds of existing teeth. “We have just invested in a new CAD (computer-aided design) system to help us make perfect moulds and replacement dentures for our customers,” said Dorai, the owner of the clinic. “Using our advanced dental scanning technology we can create perfect fits of replacement teeth, denture fittings, and of course mouth guards. You can’t get anywhere near as good a fit with a DIY kit.”
As the team here at GRGO are all very much into extreme sports, we know how important it is to protect our teeth. Some of us have made the costly mistake of partaking in dangerous events unprotected and have the chipped or broken teeth to prove it. Don’t let your kids end up the same.
At the end of the day, the choice is really very simple. In order to provide the right and proper protection for your child, custom-made mouth guards are the way to go. They might cost a pretty penny initially, but the piece of mind and long term savings in emergency dental fees are definitely worth it.