Mouthguards: Necessary Athletic Equipment
Do your children play basketball, football, soccer or softball? Do they wrestle or box, play rugby or lacrosse, skateboard, or participate in martial arts? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, all children should wear a properly fitted mouthguard when participating in these or any other contact sport. A mouthguard will help protect their teeth and reduce the likelihood of lip, cheek, tongue and jaw injuries.
Mouthguards are flexible appliances that protect teeth from both direct and indirect trauma. Most mouthguards cover only the upper teeth. However, Dr. Jared may recommend a mouthguard for the lower teeth if your child wears braces on these teeth.
Mouthguards come in three styles and price ranges:
- Stock mouthguards are off-the-shelf devices. They are inexpensive but offer the least protection because they require the lower jaw to remain closed to keep them in place. Dental professionals consider the protection offered by stock mouthguards to be inadequate.
- “Boil and bite” mouthguards are made of a thermoplastic material that, when heated and inserted into the mouth, conforms to the shape of the teeth. They provide better protection than do stock mouthguards
- Custom-made mouthguards are the most expensive but provide the best level of protection and comfort. These are made from a mold of the teeth taken in our office.
The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation projects that more than 3 million teeth will be knocked out each year in youth sports events. Children who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to experience tooth damage. Despite this, a survey commissioned by the American Academy of Orthodontists found that 84% of children playing organized sports do not wear mouthguards.
So, buy helmets, pads and other protective equipment to keep your children safe, but also put a high-quality mouthguard on your shopping list. And if your child is using a mouthguard, bring it along to his or her next dental appointment at KiDDS Dental and let us check the fit.
If you have questions about mouthguards, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.