Sports are a great way for your child to get involved and get active. Playing sports, however, comes with some risks. To combat these risks, your child wears protective gear. You are probably used to packing your child’s shin guards and helmets. Even with a helmet, your child’s mouth is still at risk. A properly fitting mouthguard is essential. At National Dental Melville, we can help.
What is a Mouthguard?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, approximately 10% to 40% of dental injuries experienced by children are sports related. A mouthguard is an oral device that covers, and cushions, your child’s teeth, protecting them while they are playing a sport. It has several functions:
- It protects teeth from serious injuries, including preventing them from being knocked out.
- It protects oral tissues from injuries such as lacerations.
- It protects jaw from fractures and dislocation.
What Types of Mouthguards are Available?
There are a few different types of mouthguards available:
- Stock mouthguards. Stock mouthguards can be found at just about any sporting goods store. They are the most affordable option. The major disadvantage to these mouthguards, however, is that they are pre-molded. These mouthguards do not fit most mouths properly. This can make it difficult for your child to breathe while playing, and raise their risk of injury.
- Boil and bite mouthguards. These mouthguards are also found at most sporting goods stores. They are not molded when you first purchase them. Instead, they are softened by dropping them into boiling water. Your child then bites into them, creating a semi-custom fit.
- Custom-fit mouthguards. These mouthguards will provide your child with the best protection. We offer these mouthguards at National Dental. They may cost more than other options, but they will offer superior protection. We custom create your child’s mouthguard just for them based on molds of their mouth.
How Should My Child Care for Their Mouthguard?
For your child’s mouthguard to be effective, it is important that your child care for it properly. It should be rinsed before and after each use with warm water (although, brushing is better). Periodically, it should be washed with soap and water.
When your child’s mouthguard is not in use, it should be stored in a hard case that has ventilation holes. It should be stored in this case even if it is sitting on the bathroom counter. Make sure that your child does not leave their mouthguard exposed to sunlight or heat for prolonged periods of time. As soon as the mouthguard shows any signs of wear or damage, it should be replaced.
There are numerous benefits provided by a mouthguard:
- The mouthguard absorbs impact, providing protection if your child is involved in a collision.
- Mouthguards protect your child’s jaw from fracture and dislocation.
- Your child’s risk of concussion is reduced.
- Mouthguards can help you to save money, by preventing dental injuries that could otherwise cost you potentially thousands of dollars to repair.
If your child plays sports and is in need of a mouthguard, Call National Dental Melville today at (631) 816-2277.