Play it safe; wear a mouthguard
Being active is an important part of being a kid, but the Australian Dental Association SA Branch (ADASA) is warning parents that playing sport can be tough on teeth.
It’s estimated that one in five Australian children will suffer a dental trauma by the age of 14 , many of which occur during participation in the nation’s most popular sporting pastimes.
This equates to hundreds of kids who are treated for dental injuries every year; injuries that could be easily avoided by wearing a protective, custom-fitted mouthguard, ADASA spokesperson Dr Angelo Papageorgiou says.
“As we head in to the Winter Sports season, it is important parents are aware that a properly fitted, custom-fitted mouthguard is an essential piece of their kids’ sporting equipment,” Dr Papageorgiou says.
“Custom-fitted mouthguards help to absorb and spread the impact of a blow to the face, which may otherwise result in broken teeth or an injury to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.”
Dr Papageorgiou says as well as traditional contact sports like football and rugby, there are many other sports where inadvertent contact often occurs – such as hockey and basketball.
“Children who don’t wear a custom-fitted mouthguard while playing sport are put at risk of damaged and dislodged teeth, broken jaws and cut lips, which can cause painful, expensive and possibly life-long dental injuries.”
Dr Papageorgiou warned against over-the-counter “boil and bite” mouthguards, as they offer little or no protection to teeth and mouths.
“Investing in a custom-made mouthguard is a small price to pay to avoid the expense and heartache of repairing damaged teeth and gums.
“But remember, as children are constantly growing there may be a need to remake a custom-fitted mouthguard every year, to ensure that it provides optimum fit, comfort and protection.”
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) have collaborated on a Mouthguard Policy to make mouthguards a mandatory piece of equipment for all registered players during training and games for sports including hockey, football, wrestling, boxing, martial arts, lacrosse, basketball and netball.