Now that the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup has officially begun, and with the talented ladies representing the United States taking the tournament by storm, people all across the country are going to be feeling the urge to get outside and play some soccer. This got Sedation Dentistry Florence, SC dentist Dr. Griffin wondering is this meant he was going to be seeing an influx of new patients coming in due to oral injuries.
Now, you might be wondering why we are connecting sedation dentistry and soccer. You might be thinking these two things have absolutely nothing to do with one another. You couldn’t be more wrong. You might also be surprised by just how intertwined the world of sports and dental implants actually are. Just take a look at some of these statistics.
Nearly 5 million teeth are avulsed (which is a fancy word for knocked out) each year. Many of these teeth are lost during sporting activities. This has resulted in an annual $500 million dollars spent each year replacing missing teeth.
Even more worrying is the fact that, according to an issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, a staggering 13-39% of all dental injuries, annually, are sports related in nature. The information that gave the results for this study was gathered from reviewing reported dental injuries from all over the world in the last thirty years.
But wait, there’s more.
The kicker (yes, actually, that pun was intended) in these statistics is the fact that in American football, where wearing protective gear is mandatory, about 75% of players choose to wear mouth guards despite the fact that their helmets have protective face masks. Now, that’s not so bad. 75% is pretty decent. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible either.
However, in soccer, a sport with almost no uniform requirements for the use of protective gear, only a staggering 7% of players choose to wear a mouthguard. There are no helmets or protective face masks in soccer either. Still, the vast majority of players do not even think about the safety of their teeth when they step onto the field.
Can you believe that? The sport which has the least amount of protective gear is the one people choose to wear the least in.
What is even more unsettling is the reality that, granted football is exponentially more violent than soccer with intentional tackling being a main part of the game, the level of player to player contact is almost the same. And don’t be fooled, there is still tackling in soccer. It’s called slide tackling.
Slide tackling, which happens when a player literally slides across the grass and in front of another player as they are running full speed ahead, is a completely legal move in soccer. Just so long as the intention was to knock the ball out of the other player’s control, and the player that performed the slide tackle did not have their cleats up and pointed at the other player’s body.
Soccer players also often receive elbows to their faces or knock heads with another player. All of these things can result in a tooth being chipped, cracked, or knocked out.
So what does Dr. Griffin suggest to all his soccer hungry FIFA fans that are itching to get out and kick the ball around?
Wear a mouthguard for Pete’s sake!
Until next time readers, keep rooting team USA and keep smiling.