Sports are back! We know after the long hiatus due to COVID-19, your kids are glad to be playing again. However, it’s important to take precautions to avoid unnecessary injuries. Various reports note that sports-related injuries account for nearly 36% of unintentional injuries to children and teenagers. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that of those injuries, 10-20% are facial trauma. Dental injuries are the most common type of facial trauma—and the most preventable—according to The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety. Athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to experience dental injuries. If your child plays contact sports, he or she needs a mouthguard that fits correctly. Anderson and Atkins Dentistry is here to help.
Who needs a mouthguard?
Athletes need to wear a mouthguard when they play a sport where impact, contact, or collision is likely to happen. According to the ADA, those who play the following sports should wear a custom mouthguard: football, basketball, boxing, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, martial arts, racquetball, skateboarding, soccer, water polo, acrobats, gymnastics, skiing, volleyball, and weightlifting. Some experts recommend that baseball and softball infielders wear a mouthguard as well. All are in agreement that athletes should wear a correctly fitting mouthguard during practices and competition. Contact sports put players at risk for breaking or knocking out their front teeth or damaging the soft tissue in their gums, lips, cheeks, and tongue. This is why wearing a mouthguard is important.
How do you choose a mouthguard?
There are three different kinds of mouthguards:
Stock mouthguards are pre-formed and can be purchased at a sports retail store. While they provide some form of protection, they are often bulky and uncomfortable. Some athletes find that this cheaper option makes it difficult to speak and breathe normally.
These mouthguards come pre-formed from many athletic stores, but they are more comfortable and tend to fit better than the stock guards. Boil-and-bite mouthguards can be softened in boiling water. Once they are soft and malleable, the athlete can place the guard over their teeth and adjust the shape to fit their mouth.
At Anderson and Atkins, DDS, we want to give our patients a mouthguard that is not only comfortable but provides the best protection. This is why we recommend a custom-made mouthguard. With this option, your child will receive an individually designed mouthguard made from a mold of their teeth. A custom-fit mouthguard is durable, comfortable, and does not hinder speech or breathing.
How do you take care of a mouthguard?
Taking care of a mouthguard is crucial. Your child will need to rinse their mouthguard before each use and brush it using toothpaste and a toothbrush after wearing it. We encourage our patients to wash their mouthguards in cool, soapy water on a regular basis and allow it to dry completely before storing. Store the mouthguard in a ventilated container that will keep the mouthguard dry and protect it from bacteria. Replace the mouthguard immediately if it tears, breaks, or does not fit correctly. Encourage your child to bring their mouthguard to routine dental visits. Someone on our team will double-check the fit and condition of the mouthguard. Taking care of a custom-fit mouthguard will ensure it lasts a long time.
If your child plays a sport in Bryan-College Station that requires a mouthguard, contact Anderson and Atkins Dentistry and set up an appointment for a custom-fit mouthguard. We’ll help you protect your child’s teeth and preserve their precious smile!