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Predators and Delta Dental launch "Protect Your Fangs"

by Press Release / Nashville Predators
Recently, Nashville Predators forwards Darcy Hordichuk and Jordin Tootoo helped kick off the “Protect Your Fangs” campaign by handing out mouth guards to local youth hockey players at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin. The Nashville Predators and Delta Dental of Tennessee are teaming up for the initiative, designed to encourage use of mouth guards to prevent injury and maintain oral health.

See the video feature HERE.

The Predators' Youth and Amateur Hockey department will be distributing free “boil and bite” mouth guards courtesy of Delta Dental to more than 3,000 Tennessee ice and inline hockey players ages 4 to 17 as they hit the ice for their 2007-08 season.

The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that sports-related injuries will result in the loss of about 5 million teeth for U.S. youth this year, with nearly $500 million spent on replacing these teeth. Without protection, children’s teeth are 60 times more susceptible to damage.

“Mouth guards are critical to preserving the oral health of children who participate in sports and extreme play. By the age of 10, most children have developed the majority of their permanent teeth, and damage to, or loss of, these teeth will have a lifetime effect,” says Phil Wenk, D.D.S., president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee.

Predators forward Darcy Hordichuk attaches a Delta Dental mouth guard to the mask of a youth ice hockey player during the kick-off of the "Protect Your Fangs" initiative.
“As interest in hockey continues to grow in this area, it is vital to educate players and their families about the use of proper mouth protection,” said Andee Boiman, Youth and Amateur Hockey Coordinator for the Nashville Predators. “This pertains not only to the ice rink but also to in-line skating and neighborhood street hockey. Mouth protection is recommended for any activity where there is a strong chance of contact with other participants or hard surfaces, like skateboarding.”

According to a study by the Academy of American Dentistry, half of all children will suffer a traumatic tooth injury by the time they graduate high school. Wearing a mouth guard helps prevent more than just tooth damage. Mouth guards prevent potential injuries such as lacerations to the lip, cheek and chin, fractures of the facial bones, permanent jaw joint injury, concussions, cerebral hemorrhages and neck injuries.

“As a player, especially in a fast-paced sport like hockey, it can be really crucial to protect yourself with a mouth guard,” said Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. “It’s great to see the Predators and Delta Dental not only giving kids throughout Tennessee free mouth guards, but providing them with early education on how to prevent injuries.”

The use of mouth guards has yielded many positive results over the years. Since 1962, when it became a requirement to wear mouth guards in high school and college football, the percentage of orofacial injuries dropped from 50% to .5%. According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually in the U.S. by sports mouth guards.

If a permanent tooth is knocked completely out of its socket, contact a dentist immediately. It is critical to get the patient and the dislodged tooth to a dental office within a half hour in order to increase chances of successful re-implantation. Unless the child is too young, the best means of transport is to gently replace the tooth in its socket or carry it between the cheek and gum. Otherwise, use a cup of milk, salt water or saliva. If none of these are available, a cup of plain water will suffice.

Delta Dental of Tennessee, with its affiliates in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan is one of the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2006, the enterprise paid out more than $1.7 billion for dental care for more than 6.2 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos, Farmington Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, Tennessee. 

The Nashville Predators continue their efforts to enhance the awareness and opportunity of youth hockey in Middle Tennessee. The Predators have created partnerships with local youth hockey associations and assist with fundraising, hockey education and additional ice time to promote the growth of the sport at the grassroots level.

For more information on the Predators partnership with Delta Dental and mouth guards, visit Delta Dental's website.


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