Protecting your child’s smile while he or she participates in sports is critical. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are among the most common injuries suffered by athletes.
Mouthguards help to protect teeth and gums from injury. If your son or daughter participates in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that a mouthguard be worn.
Types of Mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard.
When choosing a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted to your child’s mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent the athlete from breathing properly. If your child wears braces or a retainer, it is imperative for her or him to wear a mouthguard.
Dr. Arpita can show your child how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the one.
Taking Care of Your Child’s Mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any special dental appliance, it is crucial to take care of your child’s mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean. Here are a few simple ways to keep a mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub the mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store it in a protective case.
- Do not leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace the mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace it if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not wear a retainer with a mouthguard. If your child wears braces, Dr. Arpita will help to design a mouthguard that protects the teeth and braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off a mouthguard.
- Bring the mouthguard to each dental checkup so Dr. Arpita can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!
Our goal is to minimize your little athlete’s chances of a sports-related injury to his or her smile. Be sure to ask about mouthguards at your child’s next dental checkup.