HARRISBURG, Pa., March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the coming weeks Spring will be in full swing, bringing with it sunny days, green grass and the launch of another season of school athletics and other recreational activities. As athletes of all ages gear-up and prepare to take to the fields, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is encouraging all participants to be equipped with one of the most important injury-preventative pieces, the mouthguard. Typically, the use of a mouthguard is associated with contact sports, but the risk of experiencing an oral injury also exists in non-contact sports. PDA recommends wearing a mouthguard when engaging in sports and activities that are performed on hard surfaces, where contact is made with other players, those involving the use of a ball or stick, or when riding a bike or skateboard. With the use of a properly fitted mouthguard, your smile is protected and your chances of sustaining oral related injuries are significantly reduced. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, an athlete is 70 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. In addition, almost one-third of all dental injuries are sports related. Dr. Andrew Gould, a PDA member in Central Pennsylvania, team dentist for the Hershey Bears and Harrisburg Senators, and a member of the Academy for Sports Dentistry, says mouthguards have come a long way in protecting athletes in many ways. "Depending on the sport that you play, each mouthguard has its purpose and degree of tooth protection that one needs to play a sport effectively and protect oneself against either tooth injury and/or concussions," Dr. Gould said. It is more than just your teeth that are protected from trauma—your lips, tongue, cheeks, face and jaw also are cushioned from potential impact and injuries. While the primary role of mouthguards is to protect the teeth and orofacial structures, wearing one may also reduce the chances of a concussion caused by a blow to the jaw.