Delta Dental News Room


Take the Smash Mouth out of Football, Says Delta Dental

Parents urged to guard their children's smiles


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OAK BROOK, Ill. (September 27, 2010) - As millions of American kids return to football and soccer fields this fall, Delta Dental is reminding parents to guard their children's mouths. When shopping for socks, cleats, shin-guards and pads, parents should add one more item to the list of standard sports equipment—a mouth guard.

Commonly worn for more intense contact sports such as football, lacrosse and hockey, Delta Dental recommends that mouth guards be worn for all athletic activities that carry the risk of injury to the face, and particularly to the mouth, teeth and jaw. According to the American Dental Association, sports-related injuries knock out two million teeth per year. However, an athlete wearing a properly fitted mouth guard is 60 times less likely to suffer tooth damage than an athlete without a mouth guard.i

While parents might be mindful of safety when preparing their child for a game, a national survey revealed that approximately 33 percent of parents often do not take the same safety precautions during their child's practice. Perhaps that is why, according to Safe Kids USA, most organized sports-related injuries occur during practice rather than games.ii

"Mouth guards have been proven to work," said Jed Jacobson, DDS, a national oral health advisor for Delta Dental Plans Association. "Wearing a mouth guard while participating in sports—or any activity that carries a risk of mouth injury—may protect you from what could otherwise be severe dental damage."

There are three types of mouth guards currently available:

Still, if cost is a consideration, any mouth guard is better than none at all.

"If you have questions, such as mouth guard use with braces or other dental appliances, talk to the expert—your dentist," Jacobson said.

The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association ( based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to more than 54 million Americans in more than 93,000 employee groups throughout the country.

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iAmerican Dental Association, "Protecting teeth with mouthguards", 2006.
iiSafe Kids USA, "Sports and Recreation Safety Fact Sheet"