Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about protecting your child's teeth during sporting and play activities:
What is an athletic mouthguard?
Athletic mouthguards are made of a soft pliable rubber. They are custom fitted in the mouth or on a plaster model to cover the upper teeth.
What is the importance of wearing mouthguards?
Mouthguards should be a part of every athlete's uniform. They are as important as knee pads, helmets and other athletic protective equipment. They protect the teeth, lips, gums and tongue.
They also can prevent children from concussions and jaw fractures. Many organized sports require mouthguards to prevent injury to children. The majority of trauma to the mouth occurs when athletes do not wear mouthguards, especially in unorganized sports activities.
When should my child wear a mouthguard?
Whenever he or she participates in an athletic activity with a risk of a fall, or an injury to the mouth or head by other players and sports equipment. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey and skateboarding.
Many people think that heavy contact sports like football and hockey are the most damaging to the teeth, but almost half of sports-caused mouth injuries occur while playing basketball and baseball.
Also, studies show that many traumatic injuries occur when children participate in unsupervised sports in the gym or playground.
What type of mouthguard should I get for my child?
Choose a mouthguard that your child can wear comfortably. If a mouth-guard is not comfortable or makes it difficult for him or her to talk during sports, your child will not wear it. There are three different types of mouthguards. Preformed or "boil-and-bite" mouth guards are found in sports and department stores. There is a range in their comfort, protection and price. Second are professionally fitted mouthguards. They are formed in the patient's mouth by a pediatric dentist and are reasonably priced. The last are customized mouth guards which are laboratory fabricated and provided through a pediatric dental office. They cost more, but are the most comfortable and can be more effective in preventing oro-facial injuries and concussions. Your dentist can provide you with additional information on choosing the best mouth guard for your child.
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