Are your kids in sports or recreational activities? If they are, you probably heard from sports coaches that they require a mouthguard to play; however, most sports and recreational activities don’t make them mandatory to have or wear. Dentists on the other hand, recommend children use mouthguards for all sports and recreational activities where the risk of mouth-related injuries are likely to occur.
Activities include, football, baseball, boxing, soccer, skateboarding, mountain biking, racquetball, wrestling, and martial arts to name a few. Whenever there’s a chance of contact with another player or hard surface, wearing a mouthguard would help to reduce the risk of injury. Not everyone wants to wear a mouthguard and we get that but, safety should be the priority.
By using mouthguards, we as coaches and parents can help our children to keep them safe and healthy. There are more than one type of mouthguard so which one is right for your child? We’ve compiled information on the three different types of mouthguards and what each offer.
Why It’s Important?
Mouthguards will keep your child’s teeth and mouth safe by reducing the risks of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, soft tissue, and teeth. Examples of injuries such as chipped or broken teeth or nerve damage to the tooth can happen very easily. It helps protect against root and bone damage and tooth loss. They ensure that an impact to the mouth or teeth isn’t as forceful and damaging if it would be without it.
Types of Mouthguard
- Stock Mouthguards – the most common mouthguard you can find in the sporting good stores that are made from rubber or polyvinyl and ready to use. Since they’re premade, they can’t be adjusted it to fit your mouth making them inexpensive to buy and wear. The downside to wearing stock mouthguards are the bulkiness of the guard. It offers the least comfort and protection since your child will need to bite down to hold it in place not to mention it makes it difficult to breath and speak.
- Mouth Form Guards – there are two, shell liner or boil-and-bite mouth guards. Shell liner guards are made of acrylic gel or rubber that molds to the teeth and sets in to keep its shape. Boil-and-bite guards is made of thermoplastic material and then placed in the mouth to shape around the teeth through finger and tongue pressure. It can be reheated and redefined every time if necessary. Both these mouthguards offer some alteration to the guard to fit your child’s mouth.
- Custom-fitted Mouthguards – they’re individually designed to your teeth and mouth providing the most comfort and protection. Made with special material, they have a harder outer layer and a cushion layer inside to better protect your teeth and soft tissue. Custom made guards are expensive to get and are done at a dental office or laboratory.
An Effective Mouthguard Should:
- Be easy to clean
- Durable and resilient
- Odorless and tasteless
- Not limit breathing or speech
- Stay in place naturally without having to bite down
If you’re still undecided about which mouthguard to get for your child, you can always consult with your dentist for recommendations. Mouthguards keep your child’s teeth and mouth safe by reducing the risk of orofacial injuries. Encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard during sports and recreational activities even if they’re not mandatory can go a long way to helping prevent mouth injuries.