Children can suffer a variety of oral health injuries when playing sports that include chipped, cracked, broken or knocked out teeth. Depending upon the age of the child, these types of injuries can cause permanent damage to a child’s oral health, especially if they have already developed all of their permanent teeth.
Fortunately, parents can take the neccesary precautions to protect their child’s oral health through the use of a mouth guard.
Mouth guards look like U-Shaped plastic molds that fit protectively around your child’s upper teeth. Mouth Guards perform the dual funtion of protecting your child’s teeth from blunt trauma, such as a blow to the face, and offers cushioning in case the upper and lower jaw should slam shut.
Dentists recommend kids wear a mouth guard while participating in any kind of sport, not just contact sports such as football, to help prevent dental injury. However, not all mouth guards offer the same level of protection. To help you find the right fit for your child, here’s what you need to know about the different types of mouth guards available.
- Stock Mouth Guards or Boil-and-Bite-These types of mouth guards are prefabricated and bought at sporting goods stores or drug stores (Walgreen’s). These are typically found in both adult and child size. Stock mouthguards can be bulky and may be a little uncomfortable. Boil and bite guards form more to your child’s teeth and therefore can be more comfortable. Either of these options are better than no mouth guard.
- Custom made mouth guards-Constructed by your dentisit by making molds of your childs teeth to ensure a precise fit. Custom guards offer by far the most protection to your child’s teeth, but do cost significantly more than store bought alternatives.
- Orthodontic mouth guards-For children undergoing orthodontic treatment, your dentist or orthodontist can provide a loose fitting mouth-guard that provides enough room to fit over the braces, while still offering protection and support.