Athletes Are Prone to Injury
Making sure your child remains active and healthy is just as important as making sure they develop good oral hygiene habits, but with an estimated 600,000 emergency room visits each year due to sports-related dental injuries, having your child equipped with a mouth guard is paramount.
According to the ADA, 20-25 million kids participate in competitive sports each year, and athletes are 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when not wearing a mouth guard. Delta Dental reports that 70% of parents admit that their child did not wear a mouth guard when participating in sports like basketball, soccer, baseball or softball. Even with sports that list mouth guards as a necessary piece of equipment, compliance is marked at less than 75%.
Mouth guards provide a cushion for the teeth to absorb impact and protect them from gnashing together violently when an accident occurs. For more on how to handle dental emergencies, see our page: Dental Emergencies
What Kind of Mouth Guard Does My Child Need?
You know why your child needs a mouth guard, whether it’s required for their sport or not, but what kind should you get? There are three options: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom-made mouth guards.
Stock mouth guards can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies, sporting goods stores and even online. These mouth guards average $10 to $35 and come in generic sizes. While stock mouth guards are better than nothing, they tend to not last long, nor fit well, often making them uncomfortable to wear. Interestingly, discomfort ranks as the leading reason athletes choose not to use mouth guards.
Boil-and-bite style mouth guards are made by boiling a plastic mold in water and then having your athlete gently bite down onto the soft plastic. After the mouth guard has cooled, sharp scissors or a razor blade can be used to trim away excess material if it feels too long or too high on the gums. Sure, boil-and-bite style mouth guards offer a better fit, but the downside is that the plastic is thin and it’s possible to bite through the mold when fitting it. This style of mouth guard can range from $25 to $40 and can be purchased at sporting goods stores or online.
Getting a Custom-Fitted Mouth Guard
A custom mouth guard made by a dentist is the best value as it is more durable and offers much better protection than other options. These mouth guards also are more comfortable because they are custom made and still allow your athlete to talk, breathe and drink normally. And highly customizable options like fun colors or adding team logos make them appealing to children and teens. The thickness can even be adjusted based on what sports your athlete participates in.
Dental Depot strives to make sure the needs of you and your family can be conveniently met. At any of our four orthodontics offices, a custom mouth guard can be made for you or your child quickly and easily! An impression will be taken and mouth guards can typically be fabricated in one day. Check with your insurance provider to see if mouth guards are covered under your policy.
Your children deserve every opportunity to excel on the field and knowing that their smile is protected by a mouth guard will help them play with confidence. No matter what mouth guard you equip your child with, be sure to encourage them often to use it.