Protecting Your Child’s Teeth During Sports
Does My Child Need a Mouthguard?
The sports season is in full swing! While playing sports is a great way for kids to get exercise, build self-esteem, and deepen friendships, athletes are more likely to encounter an injury to their teeth and mouth.
Why Protection Is Important
It’s not only kids who play contact sports who need to protect their teeth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a mouthguard for all children and youth participating in any organized sports activities. The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that 13-39% of all dental injuries are sports related.
Two Forms of Protection
Head gear and mouthguards can help protect your child’s mouth during sports. They must be used consistently, during practices and games, to be effective. “While some level of head and mouth protection is required in many sports, coaches and parents have a lot of influence on the consistency of use,” notes Dr. Frank Crain.
Head Gear – Helmets, especially with a face guard, protect against tooth damage or loss, as well protect as the bones around the eyes, nose, and jaw.
Mouthguards – There are three types of protective mouthguards for sports play. Your dentist or orthodontist can provide a custom-fitted mouthguard that will offer the best fit to your child’s mouth. Pre-made mouthguards are found in many stores and online. While they do not provide a custom fit, pre-made mouthguards offer much more protection than going without. The most popular option, also readily available, is the boil-and-bite mouthguard in which you boil and soften the mouthguard and then have your child bite down on it.
The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation found that a child is 60 times more likely to suffer a sports injury if they’re not wearing a mouthguard. In addition to protecting your child’s mouth and teeth, mouthguards have also been shown to play a role in preventing concussion by reducing the force of impact from the jawbone to the skull.
When shopping for a mouthguard, make sure it includes the ADA seal of acceptance. Your mouthguard should be stored in a vented case, rinsed with water before and after use, cleaned with a toothbrush, and replaced each season or at the recommendation of your dentist.
Mouthguards and Orthodontics
Having braces may prevent tooth loss in case of an injury to the head, but a mouthguard can protect teeth from the impact of the injury itself and will protect lips, cheeks, and tongue from lacerations. A mouthguard can also prevent damage to brackets. Your orthodontist may recommend a moldable mouthguard that can be reformed as orthodontic changes happen. If your child has a retainer or other removable appliance, it should not be worn with a mouthguard.
When an Emergency Happens
It’s a good idea to plan ahead for what to do in the event a child’s tooth is broken or knocked out. In the event of an emergency, please call our office at 715-483-5026 as soon as possible. You may also want to read, “Help! My Child Knocked Their Tooth Out.”
Good Luck, Teams!
St. Croix Family Dentistry serves patients from the entire community. We wish our patients success in their athletic pursuits!
Chisago Lakes Wildcats
Clear Lake Warriors
River Valley Hockey Association
St. Croix Falls Saints
Turtle Lake Lakers
Valley Christian School Jaguars
Western Wisconsin Stars
we are part of your community
We proudly Serve the Entire St. croix Valley!
We serve the entire St. Croix Valley, including St. Croix Falls, Taylors Falls, Osceola, Turtle Lake & Grantsburg areas. Our full service dental clinic can still ensure you have the best dental hygiene possible. New patients are always welcome, so come visit us today to discuss your options. You’ll see for yourself why patient satisfaction is so high. Our friendly staff are more than happy to help!