Are athletic mouth guards necessary for kids’ sports?
Your kids have most likely gone back to school, which means sports season has officially started. If your child is involved in a contact sport, you may be wondering whether a mouthguard is necessary to protect their teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), kids of all ages, genders and levels of competitive play can benefit from mouthguards. Mouthguards help protect your child’s upper and lower teeth as well as their jaw and gums. In fact, 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Many of these injuries could have been avoided if a mouthguard had been worn.
Why are mouthguards recommended?
According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety (NYSFS) dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during sports participation. Additionally, an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. These injuries often result in permanent damage to the oral structures.
How do mouthguards work?
Mouthguards are flexible plastic devices that fit into the mouth. They cover the teeth and fill the space between the cheeks and gums. They act as a local shock absorber in the mouth, stopping blows to the face from directly impacting the teeth. This shock absorption cuts down on tooth fractures. Not only do mouthguards help prevent broken teeth, they also prevent the cheeks and tongue from being injured by sharp teeth.
Types of mouthguards available
There are two main options when it comes to purchasing a mouthguard for your child. You can buy a pre-madee version at a sporting goods store, or a dentist can make a custom mouthguard for your child’s face and mouth.
To get a custom mouthguard, your dentist will take imprints of your child’s mouth and create a mouthguard using their exact specifications. Custom-made mouthguards are also generally thinner and sleeker and barely noticeable. Because of this, custom-made mouthguards are far more comfortable than store-bought.
Mouthguards purchased at a store won’t fit as well and won’t last as long, but they will protect your child’s mouth better than if they didn't wear one at all.
Are athletic mouthguards necessary for kids’s sports? Yes absolutely. At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, our goal is to make your child’s dental care as easy, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible. We can fit your child for a mouthguard using their exact specifications so you can rest assured they are playing their sport with added safety. Give us a call today to have your child fitted for their very own custom mouthguard!