The AAO encourages young athletes to "play it safe" and consistently wear mouth guards and other protective gear at every practice and every game.
Members of the AAO are dedicated to ensuring that their patients, and their patients' teammates, protect themselves from sports-related injuries. Accidents happen, but some can and should be prevented. Taking steps to prevent dental injuries and injuries to the face and head just makes sense. To keep painful and expensive injuries to a minimum, make it a practice to wear the right protective gear. The costs involved in care of teeth that have sustained trauma can reach the tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Despite the risks, many kids are still not wearing simple and relatively inexpensive safety equipment such as mouth guards and facial protection during sporting competitions and practices. Parents, coaches and kids need to grasp the prevalence of sports injuries and know that many sports injuries can be reduced or prevented by wearing the proper protective gear. The investment in such equipment is minimal, especially when compared to the physical pain and mental anguish suffered by injured youngsters and their parents.
Let's make "play it safe" a mantra of youth sports.