It’s back-to-school season, which often results in a flurry of activity ranging from school supply shopping to meet-the-teacher night. There’s a lot to do and remember as you prepare your child for the coming year, but don’t forget their oral health. Many students each year will get involved in contact sports or other activities that are prone to accidents, and no one wants to kick off the school year with a or knocked-out tooth! Thankfully, mouthguards are a simple, readily available solution that can help avoid potential injury. Read more to learn about mouthguards and how to protect your loved one’s teeth this year.
What Is A Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a dental appliance that fits over your child’s teeth. It is usually made of soft plastic or laminate and is worn during sports or activities to shield their teeth, gums, and mouth from impact. They are worn by athletes of all ages, genders, and skill levels to drastically lower the risk of chipped, cracked, and knocked-out teeth.
How Does a Mouthguard Actually Work?
The purpose of mouthguards is to keep your teeth safe should you sustain a blow. If you take an elbow to the face during a hockey game, for example, your mouthguard spreads the impact of that force evenly across its surface. Mitigating the impact means you’re less likely to sustain damage to individual teeth.
When Are Mouthguards Necessary?
Some sports will require that participants wear a mouthguard, but even if they don’t, you might find that you want to provide one anyway. You never know when an accident could occur, after all! Examples of sports that often recommend mouthguards include:
- High-contact sports like football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, and many different forms of martial arts.
- Team sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, softball, or wrestling.
- Physical activities like biking, snowboarding, skiing, and skateboarding.
Even if it’s not required, if your child participates in these activities, then providing a mouthguard can give you both some peace of mind.
What Type Of Mouthguard Should I Get?
There are several types of mouthguards available, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that works for you and your child. Remember that while it’s important to find a solution that works for your budget, the better a mouthguard fits, the more protection it provides. Below are the typical options for mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards can be purchased at a store and are cost-efficient. However, because these are mass-produced it can be harder to find the right fit.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards require softening the plastic mouthguard in hot water so your child can bite into it to mold it to the correct shape for their teeth. Though these do fit better than stock guards, they are still not the highest quality available.
- Custom-fit mouthguards are made by your dentist and provide the best protection. Though pricier than the other options, your child will have a durable defense with the right fit. They’re custom made so they’ll fit like a glove, and because they are made with higher-grade materials, are even more durable than the other options.
As a parent, it can feel daunting to see your child involved in high-contact activities that could result in a dental emergency. Thankfully, mouthguards can protect their teeth and are relatively simple to acquire. Finding a mouthguard that fits can give you peace of mind that you have taken the precautions necessary to keep your child’s smile safe all year long!
About the Author
Dr. Lily is a board-certified pediatric dentist with a desire to help children, especially those with special needs. At Shiny Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, families can expect complete oral health care solutions for children of all ages and through every stage of development. If your child is joining sports or activities this year and you are interested in a custom-fit mouthguard, feel free to reach out to the office on the website or by calling (469) 925-0861.