Athletic Mouth Guards
Athletic Mouth Guards for Kids in Hurst, Texas
Sports-related dental and orofacial (face and mouth) injuries are more common than you may realize. Although the injury rates reported depend on factors such as the size of the study, the sports involved and the ages of the athletes, various studies have found that anywhere between 10 and 61 percent of athletes have experienced sports-related dental trauma. Fortunately, a properly-fitted sports mouth guard can reduce both the likelihood and severity of dental and orofacial injuries. As a result, the American Dental Association recommends the use of athletic mouth guards for participants in a wide variety of both contact and non-contact sports.
Which Sports Require Mouth Guards for Kids?
Many people realize that contact sports carry a risk of dental injury, but did you know that dental injuries are also common in non-contact sports such as skiing and gymnastics? The American Dental Association advocates the use of athletic mouth guards for the following contact and non-contact sports:
Pediatric mouth guards should be worn when participating in these sports at both competitive and recreational levels. Surveys have shown that athletes of all ages and skill levels are at risk for dental and orofacial injury.
How Does A Sports Mouth Guard Work?
Athletic mouth guards (sometimes called “mouth protectors”) are devices that you place over your teeth to protect against dental and orofacial injuries while participating in sports. They are typically worn over the upper teeth, although in some cases it may be advisable to cover the lower teeth as well.
Mouth guards for sports help prevent injuries to the soft tissue in the tongue, lips, gums and cheek lining by acting as a buffer between these soft tissues and the hard teeth. Mouth guards also help prevent tooth and jaw injuries by providing cushioning and redistributing shock in the event of a forceful blow to the mouth. Studies have consistently shown that athletic mouth guards – custom-fitted mouth guards especially – greatly reduce the risk of sports-related dental and orofacial injuries.
Types of Athletic Mouth Guards for Children
There are several types of mouth guards for sports:
Stock mouth guards come pre-formed and can be purchased at retail establishments, such as sporting goods stores. They are the least expensive type of mouth guard, but they are only available in a limited range of sizes and are not adapted to the child’s mouth. As a result, to hold a stock mouth guard in place, the child must clench down on it with his or her teeth. Stock athletic mouth guards for children typically do not fit very well, are often uncomfortable and can make breathing and talking difficult. Research suggests that stock mouth guards are the least effective type of mouth guard.
Mouth-formed (Boil and Bite)
Boil and bite mouth guards are widely available at retail establishments and may offer a better fit than stock mouth guards. They are softened in hot water and then placed into the child’s mouth and allowed to adapt to the shape of the mouth. Mouth-formed mouth guards vary widely in terms of the level of protection and comfort they provide. Currently, there is only one boil and bite mouth guard that has earned the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
A custom-made mouth guard, fitted by your child’s pediatric dentist, offers the best protection for your child. As a result, the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend the use of custom-made athletic mouth guards over boil and bite and stock mouth guards. They are more expensive than the other options, but are custom-made using models of your child’s teeth to ensure the best possible comfort, fit and protection.
There are numerous options with respect to both the design of a custom-fitted mouth guard and the materials from which it is made. Your child’s pediatric dentist can determine the optimal design and materials for your child based on factors such as the status of your child’s tooth development, whether or not your child has braces, and the risk of injury posed by your child’s sport(s) of choice.
How Can I Get a Custom Athletic Mouth Guard for My Child?
Protect your child’s teeth and mouth against sports-related injuries by making an appointment to have your child fitted for a custom-made sports mouth guard. At Hurst Pediatric Dentistry, we will work with you and your child to create a custom mouth guard that provides your child’s teeth with optimal protection based on his or her individualized needs.
This article is intended to provide general information about oral health topics. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any disease or as a substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional who is fully aware of and familiar with the specifics of your case. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.