Guard Your Child’s Mouth During Sports
Does your child participate in a contact sport such as football, boxing, hockey, lacrosse or rugby? If so, you can greatly reduce the risk of traumatic injury to your child’s mouth by having him or her wear a mouthguard while playing and practicing. In fact, experts recommend mouthguards for youth involved in noncontact sports, such as gymnastics or recreational activities, that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth.
Also known as a gum shield, a mouthguard helps cushion any impact to the mouth, reducing the chances of trauma to the teeth, gums and lips. A participant who does not wear a mouthguard during a contact sport is 60 times more likely to sustain an injury to the teeth than someone who wears one. A coach could—and should—keep your child from playing or practicing without a mouthguard.
Mouthguards come in three varieties:
- ready-made mouthguards purchased at a drugstore or athletic equipment store
- boil-and-bite mouthguards that, when softened after heating, conform to the shape of your child’s mouth
- custom-made mouthguards from impressions we take in the office
Custom-made mouthguards are generally considered the safest, most comfortable option. For some families, however, the cost may be a factor in their choice. If you decide to purchase a mouthguard elsewhere, we will still be happy to talk to you about the other available options. You need to select a mouthguard that is not only resilient and protective but that fits properly so your child is comfortable when wearing it.
To get the most out of your investment, have your child rinse the mouthguard before and after each use. Caution your child to avoid chewing or biting on it, and don’t let him or her share it with others. Keep the mouthguard out of hot water and direct sunlight, which can distort its shape. Finally, be sure your child wears it every time he or she plays a sport, including during practices.
If your child is involved in a recreational activity or contact sport that involves risk of injury to the mouth, be sure to discuss appropriate safety measures with Dr. Jared at your next appointment. We can review options with you and help you select the best one. Whatever option you choose, be sure to bring your child’s mouthguard to his or her next appointment at KiDDS Dental so we can evaluate its fit and effectiveness.
Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 to schedule today!