School sports season emphasizes mouthguards' importance

The department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry is reminding parents and healthcare providers to help children prevent oral injuries by emphasizing the use of mouthguards.

In an article on the school's website, Stephen Mitchell, DMD, an associate professor in the department of pediatric dentistry, noted that sports don't necessarily have to be considered contact sports for mouth injuries to occur. For example, two noncontact sports -- basketball and baseball -- result in the most mouth injuries that the department sees, according to Dr. Mitchell.

Up to one-third of all sports-related injuries are craniofacial, according to UAB. A mouthguard is the best preventive measure parents can take and should be worn by any child with permanent teeth. A "boil and bite" guard is appropriate for children with a mix of primary and permanent teeth, while a custom guard is worth the cost for children and young adults with all of their permanent teeth, the article noted.

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