Of all the sports-related injuries that occur each year, 20% involve dental injuries. Out of those dental injuries, the vast majority occur for one simple reason. The athlete, whatever their age, isn’t wearing a mouthguard. Wearing mouthguards is an integral part of keeping your teeth safe while you live an active life. Learning how to pick the right one can be a challenge. There are a few specific types, each with its benefits and drawbacks. We’ll be discussing them below.
Understanding Mouth Guards And How They Protect Teeth
Mouthguards are dental appliances that protect the teeth from impact injury. These mouth protectors can reduce the risk of injury from impacts. Blows to the face can cut the cheek or tongue, lacerate a lip, or break a tooth. The information available from the CDC emphasizes the importance of mouthguards. Their records show that over 3 million teeth get knocked out at youth sporting events. Wearing a mouthguard could have prevented this injury.
There are three categories of mouthguards available:
- Stock Mouth Guards – These are the least effective form but are inexpensive. They tend to fit poorly and be quite bulky and make breathing difficult. You can find them on the shelves of sporting goods stores. They’re an excellent option to protect the child’s teeth until a better option is available.
- Boil and Bite Guards – These guards are the go-to for the casual athlete. They aren’t a good long-term solution, but they’re better than stock guards. These guards provide a better fit by a process known as boil and bite. The material softens in warm water and can be molded by biting down on them. Once they cool, they’ll provide reasonable protection and comfort.
- Custom Mouth Guards – These guards are top of the line. Most dentists provide them as one of their services. They provide superior fit and comfort and are made of high-quality materials. Your dentist will often take an impression of your child’s mouth to make sure they fit perfectly. This impression ensures that the mouthguard provides the best protection.
There is a standard list of sports that require mouthguards provided by the ADA. This list includes some of the most physical sports. Among them, falls, impacts and dental injuries are common without mouthguards. They advise that those playing the following sportswear mouthguards:
- Field Hockey
- Ice Hockey
- Martial Arts
- Roller Hockey
- Roller Derby
- Water Polo
This list is far from complete. If the sport you’re playing doesn’t appear on this list, seek other guidance. You can speak to your dentist or speak to other participants to get their advice. If nothing else, be sure to wear a mouthguard while playing. If you learn that it isn’t necessary, then you can remove it.
Speak To Your Dentist About Mouthguards For Children Today
With the onset of summer, many children are getting outside and active again. If you want to make sure yours survives the summer without a dental injury, get them a mouthguard. Wearing them is a good practice, especially when spending a lot of time outdoors.