Many patients ask: When does my child need a mouth guard?
The answer? Any time he or she is playing sports!
It doesn’t matter whether the sport is field hockey or football, baseball or biking, a properly fitted mouth guard is the best way to protect your mouth and teeth from injury. Basically, any time your mouth can come in contact with something hard — another player, a ball, the pavement, a stick — you should be wearing a mouth guard.
According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety, dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury during sports participation, and an athlete is 60 times more likely to have damage to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouth guard. This damage can be much more than a chipped tooth, sometimes resulting in damage to permanent structures and requiring medical intervention.
April’s National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the American Dental Association, the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Academy for Sports Dentistry. All of these organizations recommend that all children and adults engaging in organized sports or recreational activities should wear comfortable, well-fitted mouth guards that do not restrict breathing, resist tearing and are easy to clean. There are three types of mouth guards:
- A “stock” or “ready-made” mouth guard that is made of rubber or poly-vinyl and comes in several sizes.
- A mouth-formed or “boil-and-bite” mouth guard, which is boiled in water and then formed to the teeth by applying pressure.
- A custom-made mouth guard, which is made from a full-mouth impression taken in the dentist’s office. This type provides the most protection and comfort.
Regardless of the type of mouth guard you choose, it is important to take care of it properly. After each use, wash it in cool, soapy water and rinse it off well. You can also brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after every use. Don’t chew on the mouth guard, and replace it when it shows signs of wear and tear. Also, do not wear removable retainers with mouth guards.
Contact your Enlighten Dental Care dentist today at (336) 765-0904 to select a mouth guard that meets the needs of your child’s specific activity.