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Should Children Wear Mouthguards to Play Sports?

Yes! Children should wear mouthguards while participating in contact sports such as football, hockey, basketball, and non-contact sports like softball, baseball, and soccer. Mouthguards are even beneficial for recreational activities like skateboarding and mountain biking. The mouthguard is a protective barrier, safeguarding your child’s soft tissues, tongue, and lips and reducing the risk of chipping or breaking teeth during these activities.

Typically, a mouthguard covers only the top teeth, but in some instances, athletes with dental appliances or braces may also require a lower guard. By ensuring a proper fit, the mouthguard not only shields brackets in case of facial impact but also prevents braces from causing harm to the gums and cheeks.

The types of mouthguards available

There are various types of mouthguards to choose from. Let’s explore the available options:

Custom-made mouthguards

Your dentist will carefully make an impression of your child’s mouth, capturing every unique detail, then send it to a specialized dental lab. At the lab, skilled technicians will meticulously craft a custom guard tailored to your child’s specific needs, ensuring an optimal fit, maximum comfort, and long-lasting protection. While these custom guards may be slightly more expensive than other options, their individualized design guarantees the highest level of precision and protection.

Boil and bite mouthguards

You can find these mouth protectors at various sporting goods stores and drugstores, offering a wide range of options for a better fit tailored to your needs. These custom mouth protectors are designed to provide added comfort and protection to your child’s mouth during sports activities. To ensure optimal fit and effectiveness, they are first softened in water (boiled) and then carefully inserted, allowing them to adapt perfectly to the unique shape of your child’s mouth. Remember always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage and maintenance.

Stock mouthguards

These inexpensive preformed masks are convenient and ready to wear. However, due to their poor fit, they can be bulky, making it challenging to breathe and talk comfortably. It’s essential to consider these limitations when choosing a mask option.

Care for your mouthguard

After your child obtains a mouthguard, motivating them to wear it during games, practices, and scrimmages is important. Additionally, take the time to demonstrate proper mouthguard care by sharing these helpful tips:

  • Rinse it before and after they wear it.
  • Clean it regularly with cool water and soap.
  • Store it in a sturdy container with vents to keep it dry and germ-free.

Ask your pediatric dentist to check the mouthguard during regular checkups. They will carefully assess its condition and tell you when to replace it. This is important because mouthguards can wear out over time, and changes in your child’s mouth due to growth may also require a new one. By staying proactive and monitoring the mouthguard’s condition, you can ensure your child’s oral protection remains effective.

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