The Importance of Mouth Guards in Children’s Sports
Protective mouth guards are important for your child’s oral health for a variety of reasons. It is safe to say that most everyone is better off using a mouth guard than not, especially when participating in sports. You may be wondering why mouth guards are so important. If you have ever been to a middle school or high school sporting event, you probably already know the answer. With as competitive as sports are these days, even when your children are elementary school age, mouth guards are becoming more important for proper oral protection.
If your child participates in contact or potential contact sports like football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, volley ball, etc. a mouth guard is a must. Dental traumas are a likely result of competitive sports especially the older your children become. Often as parents we tell our children that it is better to be safe than sorry. So it can be said for mouth guards and children’s sports. Dr. Porcaro would tell you to think of a mouth guard like any other piece of sporting equipment like helmets, pads, gloves etc.
Mouth guards come in a number of options and price ranges. Custom fitted mouth guards from your dentist are the most costly but usually the most comfortable and most effective. Custom fitted mouth guards are custom made for an individual’s mouth. They are typically less bulky and have a natural fit, making it easier for the users to communicate with the mouth guard in their mouth. The American Dental Association has found custom fitted guard as the best option to protect against oral traumas.
Stock mouth guards can be found at most stores that have a sporting goods department. These preformed mouth guards are more reasonably priced, but rarely do they fit well. Stock mouth guards are better than nothing, but your child may not embrace wearing this bulky, ill fitting option.
Boil and bite mouth guards are another option that can be found at most sporting goods stores and pharmacies. This option fits better than stock but not as well as custom fitted by your dentist. You soften the mouth guard at home by placing it in boiling water to soften the guard. You then place it in the mouth and it forms to teeth and gums, making a semi-custom protective guard.
Having your child wear a mouth guard will help protect your child from potential painful and expensive oral traumas.