Facts about Sports Injuries

  • In a national probability sample of trauma to anterior teeth from all causes, Kaste et al determined that nearly on-fourth (24.9%) of Americans between 5 and 60 years of age reported one or more traumatic injuries to their anterior teeth.
  • The study also substantiated that maxillary anterior teeth are more prone to injury than their mandibular antagonists and that males are at a greater risk than females for sustaining a dental injury by a ratio of 1.5:1.0.
  • The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that 25 million youths in the US participate in competitive school sports and 20 million children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 16 play organized out of school sports.
  • The National Center on Health Statistics reports that 36% of injuries to children are sports related.
  • For both morbidity and mortality, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reports that baseball is the leading cause of injuries and deaths in youth sports.
  • It is reported that male and female soccer players are more likely than football players to sustain an orofacial injury. A basketball player’s risk of orofacial injury is twice that of a football player. They attribute these differences to the mandatory use of facemasks and mouthguards in football, and recommend that mouthguards be used by all players in contact sports.
  • Helmets, facemasks and mouthguards have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of sports-related traumatic dental injuries and concussions. However, relatively few sports require their use. For example, athletic mouthguards, in most states are required only for the amateur sports of boxing, football, ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, and women’s field hockey. Amazingly enough, the NFL and NHL do not require mouthguards.
  • Clearly, many more athletes in contact and collision sports, including football, hockey, basketball, soccer, and wrestling among many others, could benefit from the use of properly fitted athletic mouthguard.
  • There are three categories of mouthguards: stock, mouth formed, and custom fabricated.
    • Stock mouthguards are generally the least effective type of mouthguard in terms of retention, protection and comfort. They are often rejected by athletes due to poor fit and must be held in place by clenching together. They are not recommended due to the limited protection they provide because they restrict breathing and speech.
    • Mouth-formed mouthguards are commonly known as boil-and-bite mouthguards. They are the most common, but vary greatly relative to retention, protection, comfort and cost. The athlete usually attempts to self-fit a boil-and-bite mouthguard, usually with poor results.
    • Mouthguards custom-fabricated over a dental cast are regarded by the sports dentistry community as superior for retention, protection, and comfort. While they are more expensive, retention, protection, and comfort are improved by the mouthguard design, through proper fitting by a dentist. The custom-fabricated mouthguards interfere least with breathing and speech, so they are the most reliable form of mouthguards.