Free Mouthguards Available to Tennessee’s Youngest Athletes via Delta Dental’s Youth Sports Safety Campaign
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NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In recognition of April as Youth Sports Safety Month, Delta Dental of Tennessee (Delta Dental) today launched a statewide initiative to encourage all kids to wear mouthguards while playing sports by giving away free boil and bite mouthguards to athletes ages 10 and under participating in organized sports leagues in Tennessee. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and stabilize your jaw, minimizing the risk of injuries to the face.

"Sports can be great fun, until your child gets a tooth knocked out. And then it becomes scary, painful, and expensive," said Dr. Phil Wenk, CEO and president of Delta Dental of Tennessee. "Mouthguards are a common-sense but underutilized way to lower the risk your child gets hurt, and I hope more parents and coaches will encourage their kids to use a mouthguard, just like they would any other piece of athletic equipment, both in practice and in games this spring."

The free boil and bite mouthguards are recommended for use by youth 10 and under. The mouthguards come in two varieties: one with a strap that can be attached to a helmet, recommended for use in football and ice hockey, and one without the strap, ideal for sports like basketball, martial arts, and soccer. Coaches and league commissioners should submit a request online by clicking here; requests from outside of Tennessee will not be considered. The deadline for requests is April 18; orders will ship out over the summer, in time for fall sports seasons.

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More than three million teeth are knocked out each year in youth sporting events, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates, noting that athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. And most young athletes do not wear them; 84% of children do not while playing organized sports, according to a survey commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontists. Children ages 7-11 are the most susceptible to dental injuries from sports.

In partnership with Delta Dental, the Tennessee Titans recently produced a video in which Mike Keith, the Voice of the Titans, and Coach Dave McGinnis, a veteran NFL coach currently serving as a commentator for the Tennessee Titans Radio Network, discuss the importance of wearing a mouthguard when participating in any contact sport at any level, from youth to professional leagues.

"It's not only a safety feature, it's a confidence feature, too," Coach McGinnis explains in the video. "It's just like your helmet, it's just like your shoulder pads, it's just like anything else that you would wear for protection. It's increasingly important to wear the form-fitted mouthguards for your protection and also so that you are able to perform at your highest level, with your highest level of confidence."

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Watch the full Tennessee Titans video here.

While any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard at all, it is important to find one that your child will use regularly and that does not inhibit breathing during activity. It should fit comfortably, cover the teeth and gums, and remain securely in place during activity. Custom-fit mouthguards offer better protection for higher-impact sports for older athletes.

In the event your child's tooth is knocked out, getting to a dentist as soon as possible is critical. Other key steps include to pick up the tooth by the crown and not the root, which can damage the nerve, and to rinse and store it as needed in milk, saline, or water until you can get to a dentist for evaluation.

To read more about the different varieties of mouthguards, cleaning and care guidelines, and place an order for free boil and bite mouthguards, visit https://tennessee.deltadental.com/giving-back/mouthguards/.

To learn more about Delta Dental's philanthropic work across Tennessee, visit the Smile180 Foundation website.

Delta Dental of Tennessee

Delta Dental of Tennessee is the state's largest independent dental benefits carrier with more than 1.2 million lives covered. As part of the Delta Dental Plans Association, Delta Dental of Tennessee members have access to the largest dental network in the nation with more than 154,000 providers serving more than 332,000 locations. With the simple mission of ensuring healthy smiles, Delta Dental of Tennessee works hard to help members of the communities it serves. Along with its corporate foundation, Smile180, Delta Dental of Tennessee donated more than $7 million in funding and in-kind services to over 140 organizations in 2019, and employees shared 2,182 volunteer hours in the community.stats
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