Now that the spring/summer sports season is upon us, it’s time to make sure all the equipment still fits and is in good shape. This includes making sure your kids have a properly fitting mouthguard.
Why kids need a mouthguard for sports
We think of helmets and knee pads, but why add mouthguards to that list? Mouthguards are proven to help prevent injuries to the face and mouth. They protect not only teeth but also the jaw and mouth.
According to a paper in Sports Medicine, one-third of all orofacial injuries occur from sports. Injuries to the mouth and jaw can be painful and very expensive to treat. A well-fitting mouthguard might not only save smiles but also your pocketbook.
How mouthguards keep smiles protected
When your child is hit in the mouth while wearing a mouthguard, it absorbs some of the blow as well as spreads the impact out across the guard. This reduces the impact on a single area or individual tooth.
Who should use a mouthguard
The best run of thumb would be if you are in doubt, use a mouthguard. Some sports seem more obvious than others, like football. But mouthguards as useful in any sport where there might be contact with the face. The American Dental Association recommends a mouthguard for sports and recreational activities with a significant risk of dental trauma or orofacial injury.
Some sports where you should consider wearing a mouthguard:
- Any contact sports – football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, martial arts.
- Team sports where there is a chance of accidental contact – soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball.
- Other sports with a possibility of accidental injury – skateboarding, trail or mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding.
What are the types of mouthguards
There are many different types of mouthguards. One thing to keep in mind, the better the mouthguard fits, the better the protection.
The stock or ready-made mouthguards are usually readily available at sporting goods stores. They come in various sizes but might not offer the best fit.
A boil-and-bite mouthguard is just what they sound like. The process to mold them involves boiling to make the material more pliable. Once cooled you bite into the guard to get it to fit your mouth.
Custom-made mouthguards are made in a dental office. These are the most expensive but could be the best option, especially for the higher contact sports.
The best mouthguards should be created from material that is FDA-approved and also stay in place when being worn, be easy to clean and have a high-impact absorption.
How to take care of a mouthguard
Just like all of the sports equipment, taking care of a mouthguard will keep it in the best shape to take care of your mouth! According to Colgate, some easy ways to keep your mouthguard in great shape include:
- Before each use, rinse it with cold water and brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Give it a soak in non-alcoholic mouthwash before cleaning it with water.
- Keep it safe in a sturdy container when not in use.
- Avoid hot water, hot surface and direct sunlight. All of these could lead to warping.
- Check it regularly to make sure it is not warping and looks to be in good shape.
Avoid anything that might warp the mouthguard. Any time the mouthguard looks damaged or stops having a good fit, it’s time for a new one.
Bottom line – mouthguards are always a good idea
A mouthguard will help keep your kid’s mouths and jaws safe while they are focused on sports. It’s an investment that will pay off in the end!