The American Dental Association informs parents that when kids take part in daily fun games or if they are involved in school athletic sports, that they should wear a mouthguard. If your kid is involved in contact sports, they especially should wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards help to protect each child’s lower oral environment like their lips, teeth, jawline, gums, and tongue.
Pediatric dentists and professional dental organizations have studies which state that between 13% and 39% of injuries encountered in playing sports are dental injuries or worse yet, facial injuries. Just these statistics for kids make a mouthguard a vital piece of equipment to wear. There are specific types of mouthguards for kids. These include the following:
1. Over-the-counter Mouthguards: these mouthguards are a universal type and are located in stores that sell sporting goods. The off-the-shelf model provides some protection, but not much. They are not customized so they may be a little uncomfortable, and may impede speaking because the child is trying to keep it in their mouths. However, dentists do suggest that over-the-counter mouthguards for minor sports are better than nothing at all.
2. Thermoplastic Mouthguards: these mouthguards are made from thermoplastic and are also found in sports stores. However, thermoplastic mouthguards must be boiled in hot water to make them flexible enough to press onto a kid’s teeth like a mold. These mouthguards provide better protection than over-the-counter models, plus they fit better.
3. Orthodontal Mouthguards: these mouthguards are customized to fit each kid. An impression is made by the orthodontist, specialized material is selected and voila, a customized mouthguard is fitted.
Mouthguards are pliable plastic devices designed to fit over the teeth and gums. Their main purpose is to serve as a shock absorber device for the mouth by deflecting and protecting any impact on the teeth. Mouth guards help to reduce several types of injuries, including:
* a concussion
* total tooth loss either partially or totally
* injuries to the face, lips, cheeks, tongue, or gums
* hard tooth damage like teeth chips or fractures
Another type of mouthguard is one that fits over the teeth of kids who already wear braces. A customized mouthguard that isn’t tight fitting so that the braces can continue to move into alignment. Needed is your kid is riding a bike, rollerblading, skiing or playing soccer, football, etc. If a mouthguard is not used in conjunction with braces, then kids are subject to injuries like broken brace brackets, damaged to the gums causing bleeding, and dislodged teeth.
Kids of all ages can be fitted with a mouthguard because these devices perform accurately in what they are designed to do which is to prevent dental trauma to a child’s growing baby teeth. Remember to speak to your orthodontist about choosing the right mouthguard that will provide the best protection for your child.