Mouthguards are becoming more common in organized sports, as research shows that they can not only protect your teeth, but they can also help prevent against certain head injuries like concussions. At what age should you consider having your child wear a mouthguard, and how do they help to protect your child’s teeth? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog.
Mouthguards or other mouth protections help to cushion a blow to the face and disperse the force of the blow over a larger area than directly on one or two teeth. Most mouthguards cover your upper teeth and protect your gums, teeth and other soft tissues in your mouth. More than 200,000 dental injuries are avoided each year because younger athletes wear mouthguards, so if your child is beginning contact sports, make sure you invest in a mouthguard.
One common misconception among parents is that their children don’t need mouthguards until their permanent teeth have come in. This is not true! The American Dental Association recommends that children over the age of six wear a mouthguard when participating in certain activities like soccer, football, basketball and gymnastics.
Choosing A Mouthguard
In general, there are three different types of mouthguards available:
- Boil and Bite
Stock mouthguards are inexpensive because they come preformed. Most children complain that they don’t fit well, and they may even irritate gums, so these aren’t the ideal option. Boil and bite mouthguards are better, because, as the name implies, they can be fitted to your child’s teeth by boiling the mouthguard and having them bite onto it in order to create indentations. These mouthguards are approved by the American Dental Association, but make sure that you closely follow the instructions to ensure the mold is made safely and correctly. Finally, there are custom mouthguards that can be designed by your dentist. These options are a little more expensive, but they will be individually tailored to your child’s mouth to ensure the best fit possible.
Mouthguards are imperative for any child or teen who has braces. This custom dental work can easily be damaged by a blow to the face, so make sure your child wears a mouthguard during athletic activity or during certain athletic activities like rollerblading or skating. When picking out a mouthguard for children with braces, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the best option for your child’s mouth. Depending on the braces, your dentist may recommend a different type of mouthguard or one that also protects their lower teeth, so don’t just pick up the cheapest option on the shelf.
Bloomington Dentist Office
Finally, you also want to care for your mouthguard when you’re not using it. Keep it clean and dry when it’s out of your mouth, and regularly clean and rinse your mouthguard with toothpaste or other approved cleaning options. It’s also a good idea to bring your mouthguard with you to your dentist appointments so your dentist can examine it for proper fit and give you advice if things need to be altered.
For more information about wearing a mouthguard or protecting your teeth during organized sports, reach out to Dr. Brooks’ office today.