There are a lot of ways to care for your child’s teeth, including braces, cleaning, and proper flossing. The connection between children’s teeth and the right athletic mouthguard is being very slow on the uptake, although we watch professional athletes insert their mouthpiece in a variety of games.
Parents are quite aware of all the benefits athletic activities bring about. Physical fitness, team spirit, and a sense of achievement are just a few of the most popular items in community, school, and personal events.
Children are more interested in playing a favorite sport than thinking about injuries to bones or teeth, which leaves the parents in charge of learning about risks and precautions.
Based on records for reported sports-related injuries, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation predicted that youth sporting events for 2012 would result in a minimum knocked out 3 million teeth. It’s estimated that more than a quarter of that number involves the upper two front teeth! Even the best mouthguard costs far less than the expense of treating a child for a missing tooth.
How does this piece of equipment work? It is built to distribute and absorb the force of impact delivered during athletic activities, including baseball, football, and soccer. Like any type of protective gear, it can only do its job when it is worn and used correctly. Kids should get in the habit of wearing the guard during practice as well as an actual event, since accidents can happen at any time.
This type of equipment usually falls into one of three categories.
- The boil and bite mouthguard is first dropped into hot water to make it malleable. It is then removed and formed in the mouth by bite, tongue and finger pressure. The closer its fit, the better protection it delivers. It seldom provides full coverage for the teeth and may be uncomfortable to wear.
- An off the shelf mouthguard is exactly what it’s called, It’s the least expensive protective measure because quality and size is predesignated. They’re typically available at sporting goods stores. Kids use their teeth to hold the guard in their mouth. It’s an attempt at dental safety, but produces poor fit and coverage. It also interferes with speaking and breathing.
- A custom-made mouthguard is the most expensive option, though far less costly than treating a broken or lost tooth. It is custom built to fit your child. The pediatric dentist makes molds or impressions of the teeth and sends them to a specialty dental lab to build the impression with high quality, resilient materials. Your budding athlete will have a comfortable guard that delivers maximum protection. A secondary benefit is sending a message to your child that his or her teeth are important and worth protecting.
University of Michigan Medicine, http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/sportsaf.htm
Colgate Oral Health Care, http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/article/how-to-protect-your-teeth-during-sports-1015