Case Western dental students helping high school athletes gear up for seasons

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Custom-fitted and personalized mouth guards will soon be in the hands of high school athletes at Glenville High School, John Adams High School and Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy.

Case Western Reserve University's School of Dental Medicine and the Greater Cleveland Dental Society will be performing dental impressions and wellness checks today on the student-athletes.

The mouth guards, valued at $250 a piece, will be handed out for free. They'll contain the color of each school and will be imprinted with its mascot and the player's name.

Dentists and orthodontists say wearing mouth guards is vital for those playing contact and non-contact sports including volleyball, soccer and gymnastics because of the risk of taking a tough hit or hard fall. Using the safety equipment prevents mouth-related injuries including broken teeth, jaw, tongue and lip injuries. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic also say wearing a mouth guard can reduce the severity of a concussion.

A survey from the American Association of Orthodontists say 84 percent of children who play organized sports do not use a mouth guard.

The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates more than 3 million teeth are knocked out every year in youth sporting events.

While pricey, experts say custom-fitted mouth guards provide the best comfort and protection. Stock mouth protectors and boil and bite products can sometimes be lumpy and thin making some areas of the mouth vulnerable.

Download the Cleveland 19 News app and First Alert Weather app.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.