ORANGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Each year, more than 1 million student-athletes suffer serious mouth injuries that include biting their lips or tongues and breaking or chipping teeth while playing sports.
It’s an increasing health issue as more children compete in youth sports, say Western Dental dentists and orthodontists, who often treat more children, especially those playing sports, during the early part of the school year.
An often-overlooked piece of sports equipment can make a huge difference – mouth guards. Western Dental, one of the nation’s leaders in accessible, affordable oral healthcare and the leading orthodontics provider in the country with 321 offices, strongly urges student-athletes to use mouth guards to protect their mouths and teeth.
“Mouthguards are essential in team sports,” said Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer at Western Dental. “They can save children and parents the pain and expense of injuries that result in tooth loss or more extensive damage.”
Unfortunately, many children – more than four of every five participating in organized youth sports – skip wearing a mouth guard, according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
It’s a big mistake. More than 25 million children participate in competitive sports in the U.S., and many of those children suffer injuries on the court or field. About 15% of those injuries are to the mouth, according to the American Dental Association.
Athletes without a mouth guard have a much greater chance (as much as six times) of sustaining an injury to the mouth, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation.
Perhaps the biggest reason to use a mouth guard is that, when accidents happen, they can protect teeth. Student-athletes with mouth guards were at least 80% less likely to suffer dental injuries compared to those without a mouth guard, according to Dental Traumatology.
“While mouth guards should be a must-have for contact sports such as basketball, boxing, football, hockey, rugby and even water polo, they are also a good idea for other sports like gymnastics, skateboarding and volleyball,” said Dr. Luther.
Mouthguards range in protection and price. Custom-fitted mouth guards are the most effective and offer the most comfortable and secure fit. They are made in a dental office or laboratory and are based on an impression of the teeth.
Western Dental dentists and orthodontists are available to answer questions about and help parents and their children choose the most effective mouth guards at any of Western Dental’s affiliated offices (including Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Access Dental, Blue Hills Dental, South Texas Dental and Vital Smiles) throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama. In addition to accepting uninsured and privately insured patients, Western Dental and its affiliates welcome patients covered by the Medi-Cal Dental program (known as Denti-Cal) Medicaid and CHIP.
ABOUT WESTERN DENTAL
Western Dental (with its supported affiliates, including Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Access Dental, Blue Hills Dental, South Texas Dental and Vital Smiles) is one of the nation’s largest dental providers and is the leader in accessible, affordable oral healthcare, serving approximately 3.0 million patient visits annually in 321 affiliated offices throughout California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Alabama. In addition to general dentistry, Western Dental offers orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and endodontics in its offices, creating a convenient full service “Dental Home.”
In California, Western Dental is the leading provider of services to both adults and children in the Denti-Cal program – part of the Medi-Cal public insurance program that provides health care benefits for more than 13 million low-income individuals and families. Western Dental dentists provided care to more than a half-million Denti-Cal beneficiaries in 2018 and are committed to continuing to partner with the State to improve the program. In Texas, Western Dental is the leading provider of Medicaid services and recently entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement to participate in a value-based care and payment model under the state’s Medicaid program.
All of Western Dental’s services are backed by a unique quality assurance system that electronically monitors all patient visits, treatments, dental staff and clinical performance to enable high-quality care. To learn more about Western Dental or inquire about an office in your community, visit www.westerndental.com or call 1-800-6-DENTAL.