Basketball season is in full swing for all ages right now from colleges and the pros to high schools and youth hoops programs. Parents should make note of one safety issue: mouth guards are not required equipment for basketball players at all levels – especially for programs with younger players.
Football? Yes. But not for basketball … and it’s tough out there on the court.
The Journal of the American Dental Association has reported that up to four out of 10 dental injuries could be attributed to a sports activity and it can be easy to understand why high school football players are required to wear mouth guards. However, the basketball court might be considered an oasis compared to a running back getting a punishing hit by linebackers in football, but it’s a sense of false security as there are swinging elbows, jumping for rebounds and player collisions at a full-running speed on the court in every game.
Some previous studies have shown that basketball players (both boys and girls) are the most prone to injury – even over football, baseball and softball. Further, the JADA report noted that basketball players’ chances of orofacial injury increased sevenfold if the player was not using a mouth guard.
But it’s not just basketball that the experts say need protection for the mouth. The participants in these sports may not take the suggestion of a mouth guard very seriously, but the JADA group recommends such equipment in sports as diverse as surfing, gymnastics and even equestrian events.
You can ask your dentist for advice and how best to protect your student-athlete.