According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 74 millionstudents will head back to school this fall, however, according to theNational Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF), many of those studentsend up as part of the 15 million dental injuries and five million casesof traumatically lost teeth that occur every year.
However, manystudents chose not wear a mouthguard for a variety of reasons,according to Brian J. Kenyon, DMD, lead author of a recent report thatappeared in the July/August 2005 issue of General Dentistry, theAcademy of General Dentistry 's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.
Forexample, some mouthguards may impair breathing or speech. Not allschools and sports require the use of mouthguards for contact sports,including basketball and soccer. Also, cost may be anotherconsideration, although mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges.
However,athletes that wear properly fitted-mouthguards will find them to becomfortable, tear-resistant and resilient, says Dr. Kenyon. In hisreport, twenty-two students participated in a study in which theytested the efficacy and comfort of two different types of custom-mademouthguards.
Dr. Kenyon found that the custom-made mouthguardmade with double layers of plastic protection, offered double defensesand the extra layers did not reduce comfort or wearability. High-schoolathletes that participate in soccer and basketball may want to considerthis type of custom-made mouthguard, recommends Dr. Kenyon.
“However,the least expensive mouthguard is better than none, since most types ofmouthguards help prevent injury to the mouth, teeth, lips, cheek andtongue,” says AGD spokesperson Luke Matranga , DDS, MAGD, ABGD. “Theyalso minimize injury and decrease the severity of the injury from hitsor falls that could otherwise result in a fractured jaw.”
“Remember,if you lose a single tooth, it will cost $10,000 – $20,000 dollars overyour lifetime to restore that tooth,” says Dr. Kenyon, citingstatistics from the NYSSF.
Sports account for about 10 to almost40 percent of those injuries (about 500,000) and mouthguards can helpprevent those problems.
More than two million teeth are knockedout each year from sports-related injuries and mouthguards help preventabout 200,000 injuries high school and college athlete from sustaininginjuries. Source: American Dental Association
Mouthguard Types Explained
•Stock (Type I) - The least expensive choice and offers the leastprotection since little can be done to adjust the fit. Athletes aremore likely to experience difficulty with breathing, speaking andgagging.
• Boil-and-bite (Type II) – Widely available at sportinggoods stores, less expensive than custom-made guards, however the fitis not as good and it will not last as long.
• Custom-made (TypeIII) – Superior to stock and boil-and bite and offers the bestprotection, fit and comfort level because it is made from a cast to fitteeth.
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