A mouthguard is a a critical piece of safety equipment for kids participating in sports; especially contact sports like football or martial arts. Let’s look at some of the basics regarding kids mouthguards protecting your child’s teeth during physical activity.
Kids mouthguard for sports
For protecting teeth, mouthguards are essential for kids in sports such as football, basketball, rugby, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, wrestling or martial arts. Mouthguards can offer protection for the lips, teeth and also can accommodate kids with braces.
When looking to buy a kids mouthguard, there are a few things to look for. First, make sure they have the right size. Nothing is more uncomfortable that having to use a mouthguard that is too big or too small. You can always consult your pediatric dentist on this topic to discuss sizing and fit.
Second, ensure the mouthguard provides sufficient airflow for your child and that your child finds it easy to breathe with the mouthguard in. A properly fitted mouthguard should not significantly impact your child’s ventilation or speech, although braces can pose a challenge.
If your child has braces, make sure to look for a mouthguard that is compatible. This usually means the mouthguard will be a bit wider than a regular one.
Custom mouthguards can also be fitted at the dentist. These will cost more than regular mouthguards, but they offer the most accurate fit and comfort for your child and for kids with braces.
Do mouthguards prevent concussion?
Research is not settled on whether mouthguards prevent concussions. Regardless, if your child is participating in a sport with body contact or with close quarters contact, it is a good idea to wear a mouthguard simply for oral protection. With the amount of dental injuries in the United States each year due to sports, any concussion related protect that may come with mouthguards should be seen as an added bonus to protecting your child’s mouth and teeth from injury.
Dental trauma from sports
Injuries are unfortunately a common occurrence in children’s sports. The most common orofacial injuries are soft tissue injuries such as lacerations, and the upper lip is one of the most common areas that sees injury.
Dental avulsion (complete displacement of a tooth from the socket) is also one of the most common injuries, with the United States seeing more than 5 million cases every year.
Studies have shown that basketball has one of the highest injury rates due to elbow or hand contact and the fact that the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) only mandates mouthguards for football, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse and wrestling. If your child is playing basketball, you should strongly consider a mouthguard to protect their teeth.
If your child has suffered a dental injury, make sure to visit your pediatric dentist to have an examination. The treatment will depend on the injury and also if surgery is required.
Image courtesy of Pro Skills Basketball.