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Sports and Knocked-Out Teeth: The Goofy Statistics You Need Right Now

10 Apr, 2020

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

In a spring full of postponements, cancellations and economic woes, sometimes, a few offbeat statistics can provide a much-needed diversion. And here’s one now. On average, between 3 and 5 million teeth are knocked out during sports activities, many during sports where athletes are supposed to wear mouthguards.

The actual number of knocked-out teeth is a matter of debate; while the higher figure was published in an article citing the Journal of the American Dental Association, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation says the count is lower. Here are some other numbers to chew on, all found in the DentalCare.com site:

13-39: The percentage of all dental injuries related to sports

2-18:  The percentage of all injuries related to the maxillofacial (mouth, teeth, jaws and face)

Two-thirds: The percentage of youth football players who comply with regulations to wear mouthguards

One-half of one percent: The percentage of knocked-out teeth when youth football players actually wear mouthguards

7: Percentage of soccer players who wear mouthguards (they’re not required)

Basketball: The sport with the highest dental injury rate in both male and female players due to hand or elbow contact

Baseball: The sport with the highest incidence of dental trauma for ages 7-12

56: Percentage of athletes in one study who sustained a concussion while not wearing a mouthguard

75: Percentage of athletes in the same study who sustained orofacial injuries while not wearing a mouthguard

67: Percentage of parents who admit their child doesn’t always wear a mouthguard when playing sports, according to a survey conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists

37.4: Percentage of injuries in softball facial and oral affecting the head and face (part of the reason ASTM is developing a faceguard for female players)

2.2 million: People who visited the E.R. for dental injuries

80 (1.76 million): Percentage of those visits that were preventable according to the American Dental Association

While many sports event owners who travel to another city will set up an emergency medical plan, not many will take note of whether there are any 24-hour or emergency dental care practices in the area. Such information may be available through your medical partner, CVB or sports commissions. Alternatively, the American Dental Association has a Find-A-Dentist portal travelers can use to locate providers in any city.

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