Helmets, gloves and goggles are synonymous with arctic athletic activities — but what about mouthguards? Definitely. A 10-year study of mouth and jaw injuries found that roughly 32 percent of facial trauma cases in children occurred during sports activities.
Common winter sports that need mouthguards:
Hockey has a stereotype for missing teeth, and while the NHL doesn’t require players to wear them, the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association requires all youth players to wear mouthguards and full-cage helmets. Body contact and flying pucks are all dangerous to your pearly whites.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Flying down the slopes with the risk of hitting the hard-packed snow or crashing into a tree or another person are all risky for your teeth. However, a recent Delta Dental national survey found that only 10% of kids wore a mouth guard while on the slopes.
Basketball and Wrestling
These winter sports are sans snow, but pose all the risks for a facial injury. Close contact with opponents can result in knocking out a tooth (a flying elbow is a definite possibility). In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that basketball had the highest rate of dental injuries.
Winter sports that need mouthguards don’t all involve snow or ice. Whether you want to protect your child’s mouth or your own, it is always best to wear a mouthguard for any sport – even our State sport – that has a risk for facial injury.