Protect Your Pearly Whites--Wear a Mouthguard

Sep 01, 2011, 11:24 ET from Academy of General Dentistry

Sept. 1 to 7 is National Childhood Injury Prevention Week

CHICAGO, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the 7 million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by those between 5 and 24 years old. In observance of National Childhood Injury Prevention Week, which is Sept. 1 to 7, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) encourages children who play contact sports to use a protective mouthguard to avoid mouth and facial injury.

"Sometimes parents do not understand the risk for serious dental injuries that can occur in their child's sport," says Raymond Martin, DDS, MAGD, spokesperson for the AGD. "A mouthguard can not only prevent broken or knocked out teeth, but also jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhage, and neck injuries by helping to avoid a situation where the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw."

Mouthguards are effective in moving soft tissue in the mouth away from the teeth, preventing cuts and bruising of the lips and cheeks, especially for those who wear braces. Mouthguards may also reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.

Although some are pricier than others, mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges to suit every family's budget.

Dr. Martin feels that a custom-made mouthguard from a general dentist is the best option. "It offers the greatest protection, fit, and comfort level, because it is made from a cast to fit your child's teeth," he says. "The store-bought boil and bite mouthguards tend to move around, which can disrupt the child during play, and we all know that if a child doesn't feel comfortable with the fit of a mouthguard, he or she won't wear it."

After choosing a mouthguard, maintaining its cleanliness is essential to preventing disease transmission and infection. Dr. Martin recommends brushing the mouthguard with toothpaste after each use or at least once a week and keeping it in a well-ventilated plastic storage case when it's not in use. Heat is bad for a mouthguard, because it can cause the mouthguard to melt and lose its shape, so don't leave it in direct sunlight or in a closed automobile on a warm day.

"Keeping a mouthguard clean and maintained is important to protecting an athlete," adds Dr. Martin. "Just as a helmet or pads are used in some sports, a mouthguard should be another piece of equipment that should be worn to help prevent injury."

For more information about mouthguards, visit

About the Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of more than 37,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up to date in the profession through continuing education to better serve the public. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the second largest dental association in the United States, and it is the only association that exclusively represents the needs and interests of general dentists. More than 772,000 people in the United States are employed directly in the field of dentistry. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management, and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs. For more information about the AGD, please visit

SOURCE Academy of General Dentistry