Basketball Now No. 1 Offender of Dental Trauma for Athletes

One-in-10 suffers mouth or dental injury

Dentists can now expect that the safety-minded among parents will be asking about mouth guards that can protect their children’s teeth during football and basketball season.

Mouth guards are not thankfully mandated for high school football players since the 60s, but basketball still has not adopted the same policy for basketball players. While fifty years ago, an estimated half of all high school players hand injuries sustained to their face or mouth, today’s rate has been slashed for the contact sport. In addition to football mandates, the sports that involve obvious contact probability, like hockey lacrosse, and boxing have all been required to involve mouth guards.

While that is all well and good for the more obvious sports. Sports like basketball are still without mandates, and that is proving to create a situation where the sport is now the most consistent offender of mouth and tooth injuries incurred.

In 2007, the outcome of a nine-year study from the University of Southern California’s athletic department initially reported that basketball had the highest rate of mental trauma amongst school sports. The tally was 10 injuries per 100 athletes during the season of men’s basketball. Despite that mark, only 7% of basketball players wear their mouthguards.

For child athletes, the chance of accidents is simply something one must deal with. But for parents, there is no reason to allow for probable injury and expensive dental damage done. Tooth pain can mean persistent agony until an expensive correction is made. Quite often dental trauma can mean surgery is necessary, which only adds to the cost.

There are three major types of mouthguards. The most common is a stock mouthguard that is used as a basic protection. These are notoriously poor when it comes to total protection and durability. However, they are also cheapest for emergency needs. It is better to have something rather than nothing in case of a lost stronger guard.

Second is the boil-and-bite mouth guard. These tend to have a tighter and more personalized fit, but still lack true total protection. They are still cheap enough to be used as a safety backup.

Finally, there is the custom-fabricated mouth guard that is created by a dentist. These are the strongest in protection and durability, and can protect against almost all sport-related traumas.


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