Sports are a wonderful activity for your child to be involved in. It teaches them how to work together with others, be cooperative, and helps to burn off some energy. When it comes to sports, whether it’s football, soccer, lacrosse, or something else, there is some risk of injury. To prevent injuries, you make sure that your child has all of the right protective gear. A major part of this gear is a mouthguard. At National Dental Williston Park, we can help by providing your child with a custom fit mouthguard.
What is a Mouthguard?
Approximately 10% to 40% of all dental injuries sustained by children are the result of sports related injuries. A mouthguard is an oral device that is worn over the top teeth and is meant to protect your child’s mouth while they play. It provides their teeth with cushion, should they fall or collide with another player. A mouthguard serves several functions:
- It protects their teeth from damage and injuries. It can also prevent tooth avulsion.
- It protects the soft tissues in your child’s mouth from injuries.
- It provides their jaw with protection against injuries such as fractures and dislocation.
Are All Mouthguards the Same?
In short, no. Not all mouthguards are created equal. There are three types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards. A stock mouthguard can be found at just about any sporting goods store. They are one of the most affordable options available. They are sold pre-molded. This can be a major disadvantage, as pre-molded mouthguards may not properly fit their mouth. When a mouthguard does not fit properly, it can cause issues with breathing and increase their risk of injury.
- Boil and bite mouthguards. Boil and bite mouthguards are also commonly found at sporting goods stores. These mouthguards come unmolded. Instead, they are designed to be dropped into boiling water for a short period. After cooling for a few seconds, your child bites down on the mouthguard, and the material forms around their teeth. This creates a semi-custom fit.
- Custom fit mouthguards. At National Dental, we can provide your child with a custom fit mouthguard. They are made from 3-dimensional impressions of their mouth. While these mouthguards tend to cost more than stock or boil and bite mouthguards, they offer superior protection.
For your child’s mouthguard to do its job, your child will need to take care of it. It should be brushed with toothpaste before and after each use (rinsing with water is acceptable). The mouthguard should be washed with soap and water occasionally. When not in use, even on the bathroom counter, the mouthguard should be stored in a hard, protective case with vent holes. This promotes air flow, which will help to prevent bacteria buildup. Make sure that your child does not leave their mouthguard exposed to heat or sunlight for extended periods of time. At the first sign of damage, it’s time to have the mouthguard replaced.
Benefits of a Custom Fit Mouthguard
Mouthguards offer several benefits:
- They provide shock absorption in the event of an impact.
- Their jaw is protected from fractures and dislocation.
- Their risk of concussion is lowered.
- By preventing serious oral injuries, you avoid the need for expensive dental treatments, which saves you money.
If your child plays sports, a mouthguard should be a part of their protective gear. For more information on custom fit mouthguards, or to get one for your child, call National Dental Williston Park at (516) 686-9780 to schedule their appointment today.