Kids love to play sports, and we should encourage it as a great way of getting exercise, making friends and learning how to work as a team. The downside to extreme sports is that it can cause injury. Of course, there are safety measures in place to prevent this. One important piece of equipment is a mouthguard. This is essential to help protect both adults’ and children’s teeth.
What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a plastic or laminate piece that goes over the teeth and gums. It comes in many different designs, including like a shield over the teeth or a tray-like device. It will protect the teeth, gums, jaw, and tongue.
Mouthguards can help prevent injuries such as broken or chipped teeth, fractured crowns, and damaged bridgework. It can also protect against fractured jaws and injuries to the lips and cheeks. It is predicted that mouthguards prevent at least 200,000 injuries every year.
When should a mouthguard be used?
Mouthguards are often mandatory in many contact sports like boxing, hockey, rugby and Ameican football. They are strongly recommended for Aussie-rules football, baseball, cricket, wrestling, football, and volleyball. Only a third of children wear a mouthguard for these sports, which is a disturbingly low number, especially when oral injuries are far too common. One-third of mouth injuries are sports related. They may even be helpful in preventing concussions as it was reported that 56% of concussions happened when a mouthguard was not being used.
Is there a type of mouthguard should I get?
Be sure you or your child has a suitable mouthguard that fits properly before playing contact sports. There are sizes specifically for adults and children. Ill-fitting mouthguards often will not be effective or comfortable. If you or your child wears braces, consider an orthodontic mouthguard, designed specifically to fit over braces. If you or your child has a retainer or other removable appliance, then always make sure that is out before playing any sports.
Some mouthguards can be custom-made. These are great for professional players or those who are serious about their sports. Your dentist can advise the best way to do this. You can also buy stock mouthguards. They can be a bit stiff and uncomfortable which is why you should make sure you get the correct size. Finally, there are “boil and bite” mouthguards. Put them in hot boiling water to soften them before putting in the mouth. It should then mould to the shape of the teeth/mouth. This may be a more comfortable option and a better fit than stock mouthguards. You can find these at sporting goods stores or drugstores. Stock and “boil and bites” are often inexpensive.
With proper care, they should last a long time. Clean after every use with warm soapy water. Don’t use water that is too hot as this can deform them.
Don’t risk it!
A lost tooth or broken dental work is no easy thing. Not only will you more than likely experience pain from the injury, but smiling, eating and talking could be affected as well. There are dental costs and time lost to correct any tooth injury, all which can probably be avoided with the use of a mouthguard.
When it comes to healthy teeth, your family dentist will always be the best person to approach with any questions. At JC Dental, we’re passionate about healthy teeth and gums and will always be happy to answer any questions or address concerns with a consultation. Contact our office to discuss your needs and see how we can help you and your family with your family dental needs.