As a parent, you do everything you can to protect your child from harm and injury. April is National Facial Protection Awareness Month and a great time to remind parents of the importance of protecting a child’s teeth and mouth during physical activity – whether they are participating in organized sports or just playing outside. From an early age, a mouth guard should be part of your child’s sporting gear.
It’s estimated that over 25% of dental injuries are sports related, and most of those injuries involve the front teeth. To keep dental injuries at a minimum, make sure your child is wearing a proper, well-fitted mouth guard that enables them to breathe comfortably while they enjoy playtime.
Mouth guards come in three basic types:
- Off-the-shelf mouth guards: These mouth guards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are relatively inexpensive and easily replaceable. Unfortunately, because they are mass-produced, they often don’t fit well and can sometimes cause difficulty with breathing and talking and can be extremely bulky.
- Boil-and-bite: These mouth guards can also be purchased at most sporting good stores as well as at drug stores. To fit, boil them in water until the mouth guard softens them up, and then have your child fit them into their mouth. The softened material will form better to your child’s mouth for a more comfortable fit. These mouth guards tend to also be bulky and tend to be less retentive than a custom fit sports guard. Boil-and-bite mouth guards would work for a child who has primary and permanent teeth as the mouth guard can be changed as the bite changes.
- Custom-made: These mouth guards are custom-made by your child’s dentist and are the best option for comfort. They are generally more expensive than the other two types of mouth guards, but, with proper care, will last your child for a long time while protecting him or her from severe dental injury. Professional custom-made mouth guards are the best choice when a child has all their permanent teeth in place.
Physical activity and organized sports are major – and healthy – parts of every child’s life. With the proper protection, you can relax knowing you are doing everything to protect your child’s smile. If you’d like more information about mouth guards, or other ways you can protect against oral injuries, please contact our office today!