When your child scores a goal, gets a base hit, or sinks the ball into the hoop, they must get a big grin on their face. You love to watch them enjoy their favorite sports, and you’re cheering for them every second of the game. But you might also worry a bit. After all, it’s too easy for kids to get injured while they’re playing. It’s important that your little athlete has all the gear they need to stay safe on the field or court. Your dentist in South Austin recommends that anyone who plays sports wears a mouth guard. Here’s why you shouldn’t forget about this little piece of protective equipment.
BENEFITS OF MOUTH GUARDS
A mouth guard offers numerous benefits, primary among which is protection for your child’s teeth and gums. For players who aren’t wearing a guard, one unfortunate blow could break their tooth or dislodge it altogether, leading to pain and the need for extensive dental work. Ouch! A well-fitting mouth guard can go miles toward preventing such unpleasant occurrences.
A mouth guard does even more. It can also protect your child’s jaw, gums, and tongue, thereby preventing trips to the emergency room and saving you time and money.
There is another, albeit lesser-known, advantage to mouth guards. They can help to prevent concussions, which is a particularly serious concern for anyone who plays contact sports, such as hockey or football. Mouth guards help by absorbing shock and stabilizing the head and neck during impacts.
NOT ALL MOUTH GUARDS ARE THE SAME
You can go to practically any sporting goods store to pick up an athletic mouth guard for your child. However, be aware that not all such guards provide the same level of protection. Inflexible, prefabricated mouth guards aren’t very effective at all; they may easily fall out, and they can be extremely uncomfortable for your athlete to wear.
Another type of mouth guard that you can buy almost anywhere is the boil-and-bite variety. You place the mouth guard in hot water, which makes it malleable. Then, your child puts it into their mouth so it changes shape to fit their teeth. These provide better protection than regular stock mouth guards, but they’re still not the best choice.
CUSTOM MOUTH GUARDS ARE THE BEST
In order to get the greatest protection, your child should wear a custom mouth guard. One study of over 400 high school football players found that those who wore custom guards were less than half as likely to suffer from a brain injury as those who wore over the counter guards. This type of guard is also more comfortable and provides superior protection for the teeth and gums.
To get a custom mouth guard for your child, schedule an appointment with a “dentist near me” who can design the perfect protective piece for your young athlete.
Sports are great for building your child’s self-confidence and keeping them healthy, but they also present risks. One of the best ways to protect your child’s oral and brain health while they’re playing is by getting them a custom mouth guard.
About the Author
Dr. Jack Fan is passionate about helping his patients have healthy, beautiful smiles. If you have questions about how to protect your young athlete’s teeth, please contact our office in South Austin at 512-361-4288.