Delta Dental News Room


"March Mouthness" Provides Teaching Moments

Parents encouraged to highlight mouthguard use during basketball tournaments


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OAK BROOK, Ill. (March 22, 2014) - While cheering on your favorite basketball team this March, parents should take the time to point out mouthguard use during the games to their children. That's the advice of Dr. Bill Kohn, DDS, Delta Dental Plans Association's vice president of dental science and policy.

Although not required, many collegiate basketball players use mouthguards to help prevent mouth injuries. That's a great example for kids, especially those who are not using mouthguards today, Kohn says.

Although mouthguards are mandatory for some youth sports, such as ice hockey, football and lacrosse, dental professionals recommend they be worn for all athletic activities where there is a strong potential for contact with other participants or hard surfaces.

"According a survey1 conducted by Delta Dental, six in 10 Americans say their children do not wear a mouthguard for basketball, soccer, baseball or softball," Kohn says. "But studies show that today's basketball players are five times more likely to sustain an orofacial injury than football players2, and use of mouthguards can reduce the rates of dental injuries and dental referrals."3

Kohn says it's also important to stress that mouthguards be worn during practices as well as games.

"Broken bones or strained muscles heal, but teeth don't. When kids lose, crack, or break teeth or damage the bone that holds them in place—whether in a practice or a game—they typically need extra dental care for the rest of their lives," Kohn says. "And without mouth injuries, it's much easier to cheer on your favorite team."


12013 Delta Dental Children's Oral Health Survey.

2Journal of the American Dental Association, "The incidence and severity of dental trauma in intercollegiate athletes," August 2007.

3Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, "Effect of mouthguards on dental injuries and concussions in college basketball," January 2002.