Main Street Dental Clinics News

Mouthguards, Kids, and Contact Sports

Ice Hockey Player

Mouthguards shield the teeth during contact sports. Research shows that these small protective devices significantly reduce sports-related injuries, preventing chipped and broken teeth. Here's how a mouthguard can protect your children when they play sports.

The Importance of Mouthguards for Sports

These devices are important because broken teeth and other oral-related injuries result in more than 600,000 emergency room visits every year. Mouthguards protect kids' teeth during high-contact sports. Some studies suggest that a mouthguard also reduces the chances of your child getting a concussion. This is because it absorbs shock and provides support for the head and neck. While the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires children to wear mouthguards for ice hockey, football, field hockey, and lacrosse, the American Dental Association (ADA) goes one step further. It recommends mouthguards for 29 different sports.

Custom Mouthguards vs. Over-the-Counter Mouthguards

Not all mouthguards are created equal. Some companies manufacture devices using inferior materials that might not provide children with the protection they need. These mouthguards can become loose when children play sports, for example, or may not fit the mouth properly. Custom mouthguards, on the other hand, offer a more effective solution. These are made by a dentist and tailored to your child's needs.

Research shows the benefits of wearing a custom-made, dentist-approved mouthguard. In one study of 412 high school football players, 220 athletes wore customized mouthguards, while 192 used the over-the-counter variety. The results were that 8.3 percent of the players using over-the-counter products received a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). However, only 3.6 percent of players who wore custom mouthguards received either of these injuries.

How to Choose the Right Mouthguard for Your Child

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right mouthguard. Look for a device that doesn't limit breathing or affect your child's speech. A good mouthguard stays in place during sports and provides comfort. As there are no internationally recognized standards for mouthguards, it is essential that you do your research and choose the right product.

Your dentist will take impressions of your child's teeth when making a mouthguard. This process is often completed during one appointment. If the shape of your child's teeth change in the future, your dentist can make modifications to the mouthguard. Children should keep their mouthguard in a plastic storage box to protect the item when not in use.

Investing in a mouthguard is a good way to reduce the chance of sports-related injuries. Custom mouthguards provide your child with more benefits than over-the-counter products. They minimize the risk of concussion and can prevent broken and chipped teeth. The next time you visit your dentist, don't forget to ask about getting a personalized mouthguard for your child.

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