Sports-related orofacial (face, mouth) and dental injuries are more common than you may think. Although injury rates vary depending on factors like the size of the study, sports involved, and age of the athletes, many studies have shown that sports-related trauma has been reported in 10 to 61 percent. A properly-fitted sports guard can decrease the risk and severity of orofacial and dental injuries. American Dental Association suggests the use of athletic mouthguards for all contact and non-contact sports.
Many people know that contact sports pose a risk to their teeth. But did you also know that non-contact sports, such as skiing or gymnastics, can also cause injuries? The American Dental Association encourages the use of athletic mouthguards in the following contact and non-contact sports:
When participating in these activities at both recreational and competitive levels, it is important to wear a pediatric mouth guard. According to surveys, athletes of all skill levels and ages are at high risk for oral and/or facial injury.
You can place athletic mouth guards (sometimes called “mouth protectors”) over your teeth to protect them from dental and/or facial injuries when playing sports. They are most commonly worn over the top teeth. In some cases, it may be necessary to cover the bottom teeth.
Sports mouthguards protect the soft tissues of the cheek, lip, gums, tongue, and cheek lining from injury. They act as a buffer to hard teeth and soft tissue. Mouthguards are also useful in preventing tooth and jaw injuries. They provide shock distribution and cushioning in the event that a blow is made to the mouth. Studies consistently show that mouth guards designed for athletic use – especially custom-fitted ones – significantly lower the possibility of sports-related oral and facial injuries.
There are many mouth guards that can be used for sports:
Stock mouthguards can be bought pre-formed at retail stores such as sporting goods shops. Although they are the most affordable type of mouthguard, they can only be purchased in a limited number of sizes and may not be adjusted to fit the child’s mouth. The child must hold the stock mouth guard in place by clenching it down with his or her teeth. Stock athletic mouthguards for children are uncomfortable and do not fit well. Research has shown that stock mouth guards may be the least effective type.
Boil or bite mouth guards can be purchased at most retail outlets and are more comfortable than stock mouthguards. These mouthguards are softened in hot water and placed in the mouth of the child. The guards will then adapt to the child’s unique mouth shape. They provide a variety of mouth guards that are mouth-formed. The American Dental Association Seal has only been granted one bite and boil mouth guard.
A mouth guard custom-made by your child’s dentist is the best option for protection. American Dental Association (AAAPD) and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that custom-made athletic mouthguards be used over standard stock or boil and bite mouthguards. While they may be more expensive than others, they can be made with models of your child’s mouth to provide the best protection, comfort, and fit.
There are many choices when it comes down to the design of a mouth guard that is custom-fitted and the materials used. Your child’s pediatric dentist will determine the best design and materials based on factors like the condition of your child’s teeth, whether your child has braces or not, as well as the potential for injury from the child’s chosen sport.
Schedule an appointment for your child to be fitted with a custom-made mouthguard. The Pediatric Dental Studio will create a custom mouthguard for your child based on your child’s individual needs.