Medical professionals of American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had recommended that children wear mouthguards while taking part in any sports activity in order to prevent mouth injuries.
Each year, more than 3.5 million children, age14 and under are injured while playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
As part of the ADA and the AAP annual back-to-school health promotion, when some 6 million high school students plan their participation in team sports, both health organizations remind parents that the use of mouthguards can help protect children from mouth injuries.
Mouthguards help cushion blows that might otherwise cause broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. They also may reduce the severity and incidence of concussions. If a child wears braces or another fixed dental appliance on their lower jaw, the dentist may suggest a mouth protector for those teeth as well.
Kids suffer thousands of injuries each year on the playing field, the basketball court or while skateboarding, biking or during other activities.
"Injuries to the face from participating in a sport or other recreational activity can harm your child's teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue, but a properly fitted mouthguard can help protect your child's smile," says Edmond Hewlett, D.D.S., an ADA consumer advisor and associate professor at UCLA's School of Dentistry.
"In addition to mouthguards, be sure your child wears all the appropriate protective equipment made for their sport, such as shin pads, wrist guards, eye protection, and helmet, adds AAP President Carol Berkowitz, M.D., FAAP. Always consult your pediatrician on the sport that is right for your child's age and abilities."
"In the past few years, since high schools and colleges began to require mouthguards and facemasks for football, about 200,000 injuries to the mouth and face have been prevented each year," says Dr. Hewlett.