As parents, we’re always concerned with keeping our children safe. When it comes to sports, one of the best ways to protect your child’s teeth–and their brain–is a mouthguard. Whether you’re preparing your kids for soccer, football, basketball, hockey or any other sport, don’t forget one of the best ways you can protect their dental health and reduce concussion risk.
What makes a mouthguard so important?
1. Sports-related dental injuries affect a lot of people.
Naturally, no one wants their child to be injured in any way while playing sports, but, unfortunately, dental injuries happen more frequently than you might think. From the American Dental Assistants Association’s Sports-Related Dental Injuries and Sports Dentistry educational materials (emphasis ours):
“Approximately 20 million children participate in various sports programs in the United States and another 80 million are involved in unsupervised recreational sports. In addition, 15 million Americans suffer dental injuries and 5 million teeth are lost annually in sports-related injuries. During a single athletic season, athletes have a 1 in 10 chance of suffering a facial or dental injury. In fact, the lifetime risk of such an injury is estimated to be about 45% according to the National Youth Sports Foundation.”
2. Mouthguards are effective in preventing dental injuries.
There are a few types of dental injuries. Teeth can become chipped, broken, loose, or lost altogether. Dealing with a dental trauma can be hard for anyone, especially kids. Your teeth affect how you smile, how you eat, and how you speak. Treatment for dental injuries can also be costly. A mouthguard helps by protecting your teeth and decreases risk of all of these types of injuries. In fact, studies have found that mouthguards are not just one way to prevent sports-related dental injuries, they are the most effective way.
3. Mouthguards are available for a range of prices.
There are three kinds of mouthguards:
- Ready-Made: These mouthguards can be found in many grocery and drug stores and are ready to wear out of the box. They are the least expensive option, and while they do work for some, they don’t often fit very well, and as a result can be uncomfortable and make speaking difficult.
- Boil-and-Bite: Also available in drugstores and grocery stores, as well as sporting goods stores, boil-and-bite mouthguards are a way to get a better fit while still being relatively inexpensive. Before initial use, you soften the guard material by boiling, and then “bite” into it, allowing the material to mold around your teeth and gums.
- Custom-Made: A custom-made mouthguard is made just for you by your family dentist. For many people, this option offers the best and most comfortable fit. When your dentist makes your mouthguard, s/he can also tailor it to the needs of the individual athlete and their sport. These are also the most expensive mouthguards, but are a worthwhile investment for active kids (and adults).
If your child needs a mouthguard for the fall sports season, just get in touch with us! We’re here to help.