Athletic kids need proper safety gear! Mouthguards offer convenient protection to a vulnerable area - the mouth. Are all mouthguards the same? No, there are several variations - and in this article we will help parents identify the different types of sport mouthguards for children, and how they can offer some great protection. Mouthguards aren’t always discussed, but they are important protective equipment, especially for active kids!
WHY ARE MOUTHGUARDS IMPORTANT?
It has been reported that over 3 million sport-related dental injuries occur to kids in the US each year. But the ADA (American Dental Association) reports that mouthguards can be 60 times more likely to prevent or minimize damage for many of those injuries. They should be just as important as a helmet during contact sports. Did you know that mouthguards can even prevent fractured jaws, because they cushion the force of a blow?
WHAT EXACTLY IS A MOUTHGUARD?
It is made of a soft plastic that wraps around the teeth and gums. A mouthguard can provide comprehensive oral protection to the teeth, gums, tongue, lips, cheeks, and helps to redirect the shock when there is a sports-related blow to the face.
WHO SHOULD WEAR A SPORTS MOUTHGUARD?
It is recommended for children ages 8-12, but also for teenagers, too. Children involved in the following sports are more likely to sustain a mouth injury, and therefore are more likely to benefit from a sports mouthguard: football, baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, karate, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics. The ADA recommends a proper fitting mouthguard for any sports that could cause mouth injury.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN VARIATIONS OF YOUTH SPORT MOUTHGUARDS?
1. PRE-FORMED MOUTHGUARD: Pros: easily available at many stores, instant protection, and usually inexpensive. Cons: not customized to the size of your child’s mouth because it is made as “one size fits all”, may be uncomfortable.
2. BOIL & BITE MOUTHGUARD: A popular option! How it works: boil it so it becomes soft, then form around teeth to get a more customized shape once it cools. Pros: provides a semi-customized fit to the shape of your child’s mouth, available at many stores or online, instant protection, and somewhat inexpensive. Cons: sometimes more expensive than the pre-formed option.
3. CUSTOM-FIT MOUTHGUARD: A good investment for a dedicated athlete. Pros: a total custom fit can be achieved by special ordering a custom mouthguard, available after a dental fitting appointment. Cons: not easily available for an instant solution, requires a fitting appointment, and more pricey.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS BRACES?
Children with braces can certainly wear a mouthguard, and are often encouraged to do so. A properly fitting mouthguard can protect the entire mouth from a braces/sports injury. It can even help hold the braces brackets in place during an accidental blow to the face.
WILL MY CHILD NEED ONE FOR SPORTS?
A sports mouthguard won’t protect from a sprained ankle but can definitely help prevent a broken tooth or minimize oral injury. Because a mouthguard acts as a shock absorber, it can make the difference between a missing tooth or a healthy smile. They are equally important as wearing a helmet or kneepads.
To make sure your child’s smile is healthy on and off the field, be sure to reach out to us to schedule an appointment! It is our privilege and honor at Sunshine Children’s Dentistry to care for the oral health of your children.
Address: 1911 S. 17th Street #140, Wilmington, NC 28401
* NOTE: Results may vary. Mouthguards are generally recommended for sports, but do not guarantee full protection from injury. Talk to our staff or your pediatrician for more information.
Our Sunshine Team is taking every safety precaution to ensure that our office remains a place "where children have FUN & SMILE." We are following every safety guideline issued by the CDC, FDA, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, NC Department of Health & Human Services, and the NC Board of Dental Examiners. Staff and patients have been wearing masks and PPE, conducting health screening questionnaires upon arrival, temperature checks at the door, as well as ongoing sanitation and infection control to maintain a safe environment. We want only the best for our patient families and staff members.
🎨 COLOR WITH US & SPREAD THE JOY OF ART! 🎨
Help us fill our office and our Facebook Page with beautiful art! Encourage your little artists to participate in our "Everyone Smiles in the Same Language" coloring contest and write why they want to share smiles, too. We can make the world bright one SMILE at a time. Our hope at Sunshine Children’s Dentistry is to spread FUN & SMILES. There are 2 ways to submit your child’s art (you are welcome to do both). You may share a photo to our Facebook page with the hashtag #EveryoneSmilesInTheSameLanguage AND/OR mail it to our office: 1911 S. 17th Street #140, Wilmington, NC 28401. (Download the printable PDF here.)
To ensure all your children’s teeth are ready to SMILE all year long, be sure to visit Sunshine Children’s Dentistry. The American Dental Association recommends oral checkups twice annually for children (and adults, too). QUESTIONS? We are a resource to you and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s changing smile. We believe that oral health should be FUN and something to SMILE about! f you ever need to reach us, our number is 910.762.7736.
For more helpful resources and fun activities, be sure to read our other Blog Articles.