Mouth Guards: Types and Benefits

The kids are officially back in school and fall sports are in full swing. Safety equipment is an important part of any sport, so when you’re making sure your kids are set to participate, one major piece of equipment should come to mind: a mouth guard. Rules and regulations often require the use of a mouth guard during practices or games, but understanding why it’s needed and choosing the best mouth guard for your child is important.

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, it was reported that 13-39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. It’s also estimated that in sports like football where protective gear is required, only about two-thirds of athletes are actually in compliance. Taking the time to educate your children about preventative steps and protection against injury could save them extra trips to the dentist and major dental work in the long run.

Why Mouth Guards Are Important

Did you know that dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury in sports? To make matters worse, the American Dental Association reported that 84 percent of children do not wear mouth guards while playing sports because they aren’t required to wear them.

All young athletes that participate in sports with a risk of injury to the mouth and jaw would benefit from wearing a mouth guard. They help to protect against chipped or broken teeth, root and bone damage, and tooth loss. By separating soft tissue from the teeth, mouth guards also prevent cutting and bruising of the lips, tongue, and cheeks. Mouth guards minimize the chances of an injury to the mouth and jaw, saving you potential time and money spent at a dentist or emergency room.

Types of Mouth Guards

There are three different types of mouth guards—stock, boil-and-bite, and custom-fitted. Stock mouth guards come formed and ready to wear, and boil-and-bite mouth guards are made from thermoplastic material that can be shaped around the teeth. Both stock and boil-and-bite mouth guards can be found at any sporting goods store. Custom-fitted mouth guards are the most protective option and are individually fabricated by a dentist or orthodontist.

Keep in mind that mouth guards should fit properly, be durable, be easy to clean, and should not restrict breathing or speech in any way.

Don’t Forget

If you have a child that plays sports, always enforce the use of a mouth guard to reduce their chance of dental injury. Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective equipment available—take advantage of the benefits and avoid extra dental visits and work in the long run. Dental injuries can happen, and taking preventative action will leave you feeling safe rather than sorry!

Ariees Spangler