Mouth Guards in Sports – Does My Child Really Need One?

The short answer: yes.

Particularly in high contact sports, mouth guards are a necessary piece of equipment. They protect the teeth and can prevent injury to the lips, cheeks and gums.

Just as a helmet protects the brain and padding protects the bones, mouth guards play an important role in keeping children safe during sports. In fact, The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety states that an athlete is 60 more times likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard.

Mouth guard use isn’t always enforced, but it should be. The Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouth guards for a variety of sports including football, basketball, boxing, hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, skateboarding and many others.

Not only are mouth injuries painful for children, but there are often accompanied by emotional or financial ramifications as well. A permanent tooth that gets knocked out doesn’t grow back. When a kid’s smile is forever altered it can be hard for him or her to accept and adjust. And the cost of dental repairs for broken or knocked out teeth far outweighs the cost of a mouth guard. It’s much better to prevent the injury in the first place.

There are several types of mouth guards available. Ready-made options can be purchased at sporting goods stores, while custom fit mouth guards can be made by dentists. The custom made versions provide the best fit and offer the best protection, because they are made from an impression of the mouth. They also tend to be more comfortable than the stock ones, so kids are more inclined to wear them.

Just like all sports equipment, mouth guards can wear out over time. Also, it’s important to remember that kids’ mouths are still growing and teeth shifting, so be sure to have his or her mouth guard checked regularly for proper fit

Most parents don’t think twice about enforcing a helmet or padding, but the mouth guard should be a necessary part of that uniform, too. Nobody wants to deal with mouth injuries that could have been prevented by wearing the proper equipment.

Now, get out and play!

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