Protecting your child’s smile while playing sports is essential. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes.
Mouthguards help protect teeth and gums from injury. If your child 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 is 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 proper breathing. If they wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for them to wear a mouthguard. Your dentist can show your child how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard.
Taking Care of Your Child’s Mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces or any special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your child’s mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean. Here are a few simple ways to keep your child’s mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub the mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store the mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water as it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace the mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your child’s mouthguard 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, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect the teeth and braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off your mouthguard.
- Bring the mouthguard to each dental checkup so Dr. Okamoto can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!
Our goal is to help minimize your child’s chances of a sports-related injury to their smile. Be sure to ask your dentist about mouthguards at your child’s next dental checkup.