Before you or your daughter take the field to participate in sports, make sure your protective gear includes a mouthguard.
Contact sports such as football and hockey are usually associated with orofacial injuries and require protective mouthguards; however, findings show that soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain an orofacial injury, while basketball players have a risk up to 15 times that of football players.
"Even though basketball is not considered a contact sport, studies have found that as high as 30 percent of orofacial injuries result from contact during a basketball game," says David Kumamoto, DDS, FAGD.
Mouthguards protect against injuries to the lips, teeth, cheeks and tongue and reduce the incidence and severity of injuries during practice and competition. They also help protect against jaw fractures and neck injuries and may also reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.
"Increased participation in sports by women and girls shows that they're taking athletics seriously. And they need to protect themselves from preventable injuries," says Dr. Kumamoto.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that players participating in basketball, softball, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts, whether for an athletic competition or leisure activity, wear mouthguards while competing.
Reviewed: January 2012