CDA Reminds Parents of the Importance of Protecting Teeth With Mouthguards

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Simple step to avoid oral injuries

Mouthguards are just as important as other pieces of protective athletic gear and should be worn when participating in contact and noncontact sports and activities.

As parents prepare their children for the after-school sports and activities that typically come with the fall season, CDA is reminding parents to protect children’s teeth with a mouthguard – this simple safety measure prevents more than 200,000 oral injuries among athletes each year, according to the American Dental Association.

“Mouthguards are just as important as other pieces of protective athletic gear and should be worn when participating in contact and noncontact sports and activities,” said CDA President-Elect Lindsey Robinson, DDS, a pediatric dentist. “Mouthguards can cushion the impact to the face or mouth and minimize the risk of injury to the teeth, lips or jaw. It’s important to take appropriate steps to protect yourself and your children.”

Mouthguards are commonly worn in contact sports like boxing, football and hockey, but even in noncontact sports like gymnastics and skateboarding, mouthguards can help prevent injuries that could otherwise result in significant damage to the teeth, lips, tongue and jaw.

General dentists see more injuries to the mouth as a result of playing sports than from almost any other single cause, and according to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard.

Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth and a properly fitted mouthguard will stay in place while worn, making it easy to talk and breathe. There are three basic types of mouthguards: custom-made, mouth-formed and ready-made stock.

Designed to cover all the teeth, custom-made mouthguards are formed by a dentist using a cast model of your teeth and offer the most effective protection.

Mouth-formed guards, sometimes referred to as “boil and bite” guards, are generally made of acrylic gel or thermoplastic materials designed to be softened in boiling water then molded to the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.

Ready-made stock mouthguards are commercially produced, pre-formed guards that can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. This type of mouthguard is less comfortable and offers the least effective protection.

For the best possible fit and protection, CDA recommends seeking the advice of your dentist.

To protect your teeth year round, brush with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, twice a day, floss daily, avoid sugary drinks like soda, and visit the dentist for a checkup on a regular basis. For more information on mouthguards, call your CDA-member dentist or visit cda.org.

About the California Dental Association
The California Dental Association is the non-profit organization representing organized dentistry in California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 25,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit cda.org.

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Alicia Malaby
California Dental Association
916.554.5372
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