Mouthguards and dental guards are often associated with sports, but they’re critical pieces of protective gear for children and teens. Not only do they protect your child from dental injuries while playing contact sports, but they also help to reduce the risk of serious dental trauma or other oral injuries.
Mouthguards protect the teeth and gums from injury and trauma while reducing the risk of long-term damage. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why it’s important for your child to wear a mouthguard during sports and examine how to pick the right one for them.
What Is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard or dental guard is a device worn over the teeth to protect them from damage caused by sports or grinding of teeth (bruxism). It acts as a cushion between the upper and lower jaw, protecting against blunt force trauma to the face, jaw joint dislocation, tooth fracture, damage to orthodontic appliances, and other potential injuries.
Different types of mouthguards are available for different activities.
- Stock models made out of pre-formed plastic that you can buy off the shelf.
- Boil-and-bite models are made of a thermoplastic material that you can heat in water and then bite into.
- Custom-made models created by a dentist using exact measurements of your child’s teeth.
Why Should My Child Wear A Mouthguard?
Mouthguards or dental guards are essential when playing contact sports such as football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, boxing, or martial arts. Wearing a mouthguard helps prevent injuries such as:
- Broken teeth
- Tooth loss
- Cuts inside the mouth or on the lips/tongue
- Dislocated jaws due to blows to the face or head
A properly fitted mouthguard can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. If your child were to sustain a dental injury without one, the costs of repairing broken or chipped teeth and any other treatments necessary (root canals, crowns, etc.) could be very expensive.
Preventative Care From Bruxism
A mouthguard, or nightguard, should also be worn if your child grinds or clenches their teeth at night (bruxism). Bruxism can lead to serious damage to tooth enamel over time and can cause headaches and jaw pain if left untreated. Night guards are worn while sleeping to protect teeth from the wear and tear associated with bruxism.
Reduce the Risk of Concussions
Though not directly related to dental care, studies have shown that wearing a properly fitted mouthguard may reduce the risk of concussions in young athletes who participate in contact sports such as football or hockey. Providing cushioning between the upper and lower jaws when an impact occurs can help reduce the force placed on the head, which could result in concussion-like symptoms.
How To Choose the Right Mouthguard for Your Child
The best way to ensure that your child has adequate protection when playing sports is to get a custom-made mouthguard from their dentist. Custom mouthguards provide superior protection because they fit snugly around each tooth and have space at the back, so they don’t interfere with breathing or speaking while wearing them.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards offer less protection but can still provide adequate coverage when needed. These stock guards offer minimal protection since they don’t fit properly around your child’s individual teeth and gums but may be suitable for certain low-impact activities such as skateboarding or rollerblading where only minimal protection is needed.
Protect Your Child’s Beautiful Smile
Mouthguards are a great way to protect your children while playing sports and engaging in other activities that may cause trauma or damage to their teeth. Make sure to get an appropriate mouthguard fitted by your dentist to provide the best protection against injury and is comfortable to wear. A properly fitted mouthguard will help ensure your child’s safety while they enjoy their favorite activities!
While a mouthguard does help to protect your child’s teeth, there is still a risk of injury in contact sports. If your child is experiencing a dental emergency in Denver or surrounding areas, you can count on the team at Youth Dental and Vision to provide fast and professional care. We understand that dental emergencies are stressful, and we will do everything we can to make our patients and their parents feel comfortable and safe. If you’re in the Denver area and your child is experiencing a dental emergency, call our 24-hour emergency line at (303) 886-0699. We have locations in Denver, Thornton, Aurora, and Hampden, and Spanish-speaking staff and translators in all our locations. We accept many insurance plans, including Medicaid and Denver Health.
We look forward to meeting you!