Wearing the proper protective gear when playing sports is essential for protecting your child’s body from injury. For this reason, you make sure your child never attends a practice or a game without it. Each piece of gear has a special job. Shin pads protect the legs while a helmet protects the head. However, did you know that even with a helmet, a sports mouthguard should still be used? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, between 10 and 40% of dental injuries in children are related to sports. At National Dental Douglaston, the health and safety of your child’s mouth are one of our highest priorities. If your child plays sports, wearing a mouthguard is a must.
PROTECTING YOUR CHILD’S MOUTH
A sports mouthguard is an oral protective device. It is designed to protect your child’s teeth from serious sports-related injuries. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says that a proper sports mouthguard should perform a few different, essential, tasks:
- Protect lips and inner oral tissues from lacerations and other damage
- Protect the teeth from avulsion or any other type of damage
- Protect the jaw from dislocation and fracture
TYPES OF MOUTHGUARDS
There are three different types of sports mouthguards:
- Stock: Stock mouthguards are pre-molded and available for sale at your pharmacy or sporting goods store. While they are highly affordable, they are not the best option. Pre-molded mouthguards will not always fit properly, which can lead to serious damage. They can also be bulky and interfere with breathing.
- Boil and bite: Boil and bite mouthguards are exactly what they sound like. You drop an unmolded mouthguard into boiling water for a few seconds, let it cool slightly and have your child bite down on it, molding the material to their mouth. This creates a semi-custom fit.
- Custom-fit: A custom-fit mouthguard is your child’s best option for protection. While it is more expensive than your other options, the protection is unparalleled. We take molds of your child’s mouth and fabricate a custom-fit mouthguard for them.
HOW TO CARE FOR A MOUTHGUARD
Proper care is essential for the function of the mouthguard, as well as your child’s oral health. It should be at least rinsed off after it is used, and before being used again. Even better, it should be brushed with toothpaste after each use. It should also periodically be cleaned with soap and water. In between uses, the mouthguard should be kept in a plastic case with vent holes, which allows for air flow, limiting bacterial growth. Don’t let your child leave their mouthguard anywhere where it can be exposed to long periods of heat or sunlight. At the first sign of damage, the mouthguard should be replaced.
BENEFITS OF A MOUTHGUARD
There are several benefits associated with the use of a sports mouthguard:
- Protects your kids teeth from serious damage in the event of impact
- A mouthguard absorbs impact
- The jaw is protected from dislocation
- Reduced risk for concussion
- By avoiding dental injuries, you are spared having to shell out potentially thousands of dollars in dental care
A sports mouthguard is an important piece of protective gear, just as important as a helmet or any other type of padding. Contact National Dental Douglaston today at (718) 557-9882 for more information.