Syracuse Orthodontist Michael Meharg on Sports with Braces

Just because a patient starts orthodontic treatment does not mean that he/she cannot participate in sports. However, wearing a mouth guard is an essential part of treatment while playing sports because mouth guards minimize sports related injuries to the jaw and mouth.

According to the American Association of Orthodontics

  • Injuries can happen at any age or skill level – More than half of the seven million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth between ages 5 and 24. *
    • Collision and contact sports have higher injury rates. Baseball, soccer, basketball and football account for about 80% of all sports-related emergency room visits for children between 5 and 14 years of age.*
  • Mouth guard use is very low – 67% of parents say their child does not wear a mouth guard – yet, 70% say their biggest fear when their child plays is that they will get hurt.**
    • One out of every four (27%) parents say their child has sustained an injury during an organized sport resulting in a trip to the emergency room.**
  • Most coaches and leagues are not advising the use of mouth guards – Of the parents whose children do not wear a mouth guard, 84% say it’s because the league or coach does not require it.**
  • Hard hits occur no matter what the sport – The average high school baseball pitcher can throw a fast ball between 75-85 miles per hour. This compares to being hit in the mouth by a speeding car.***
    • Cheerleading is one of the most dangerous sports, accounting for 65% of all injuries in high school girls’ athletics.****
  • Children with braces need to wear mouth guards – One out of every three (31%) parents say their child has orthodontic treatment or braces while playing an organized sport.*
    • Lacerations can occur if an orthodontic patient´s mouth is not properly protected.

    * Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    ** American Association of Orthodontists

If you play any type of sport be sure to let Dr. Meharg know. Franklin Square Orthodontics provides free mouth guards to our patients.

NFL Star Emmitt Smith recently teamed up with the AAO to stress the importance of mouth guards in sports

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