Wrestlers should wear mouth guards

To the Editor:

We viewed with some disappointment the cover photo in the Jan. 23 edition, as well as some photos on the sports pages, highlighting school-sponsored wrestling activity.  As evidenced in the pictures, none of the athletes were wearing a protective mouth guard.

While not officially required for the sport, it would be nice to see a sign of encouragement by parents and coaches to have the students wearing dental protective devices.

Statistically, 5 percent of all trauma is dental.  In sports, 59 percent of sports-related orofacial injuries occur in ball-and-stick and ball sports.  Basketball injuries lead the way with rates ranging from 7.5 percent to 40 percent of participants.  The majority of sports injuries occur outside of organized sessions.

Imagine if our driver-education programs didn’t require seatbelt use.  Would young drivers use seatbelts outside of the organized teaching activity?  What about helmet use for school-sponsored skiing?  Reasonable protection should be encouraged in school activities, which will help reinforce the importance of use outside of school activities.

Professionally made mouth guards are comfortable, easy to wear, and allow normal communication during activity.  They can be made clear or in a variety of colors and will generally last growing kids for six to nine months and for older kids and adults for one to two years.  This is a small price to pay for prevention of painful and expensive dental trauma.

Talk to your dental staff about a vacuum-formed mouth guard and encourage its use as often as possible, including those backyard games.  Remember that owning one is of no value if it isn’t worn.  February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  Let’s protect our kids.

Dr. Stuart Fass, D.D.S.

Dr. Adam Edwards, D.D.S.

Altamont

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