Delta Dental Recommends Mouth Guards to Prevent Injuries During School Sports

Monday, August 13, 2007 General News
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OKEMOS, Mich., Aug. 13 Though most parents or caregiverswould never send a child to school without the proper school supplies likepencils and paper, many ignore a very important back-to-school essential forchildren's oral health and safety - a mouth guard.

"Physical activity and education are imperative to overall health andwell-being, but can also be potentially dangerous to dental health," said Jed.J. Jacobson, D.D.S., M.S., M.P.H., senior vice president of professionalservices and chief science officer at Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio andIndiana. "But like any protective sporting equipment, wearing a mouth guardcan help reduce injury and ensure a safer game."

Sports-related dental injuries send about 600,000 youths to the emergencyroom each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Mouthguards are an inexpensive, yet effective way to prevent dental disasters. Byfunctioning as a shock absorber, it is estimated that mouth guards avert200,000 oral injuries each year and can cut the risk of concussion by 50percent. Oral injuries can include fractured teeth, neck injuries and evenabrasions from braces.

While contact sports such as football, hockey and basketball are commonsources for oral injury, non-contact sports such as gymnastics, volleyball andrecreational physical activity also pose a threat.

Aside from causing a child undue trauma, treatment procedures can also beextremely expensive for parents. The National Youth Sports Foundation forSafety estimates the total cost of replacing a tooth lost in a sports injurycan range from $5,000 to upward of $20,000 over a lifetime.

Mouth guards come in three different styles, varying in price andprotection. Stock mouth guards offer the most basic level of protection. Theyare inexpensive, ready to wear and can be purchased at most sporting goodsstores. Boil-and-bite mouth guards are formed by first softening the guard inwater and then adapting it to the athlete's mouth, creating a higher level ofprotection. This is the most popular style and can also be found in mostathletic stores. Custom made mouth guards can be created by a dentist toprovide an exact fit, but tend to be the most expensive. Talk to your dentistabout which option may be best for your child.

"Regardless of the style you choose, a mouth guard is a necessary piece ofequipment for every athlete," said Dr. Jacobson. "Purchasing a protectivemouth guard for your child and making sure they use it will reduce their riskof a traumatic accident. It is something no athlete should be without."

Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, with its affiliate inTennessee, make up one of the largest dental plan administrators in thenation. In 2006, the enterprise paid more than $1.7 billion for dental carefor more than 6.2 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos andFarmington Hills, Mich.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis andGreenwood, Ind.; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.

SOURCE Delta Dental

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