Why would a child need a sports mouth guard?

Most dental trauma occurs when children are playing contact sport or mixed martial arts and get hit by a ball or fall to the ground. Often such trauma results in the premature loss of a tooth or the dislodgment of other teeth. To protect against the risk of injury, sports mouth guards are recommended.

Sports mouthguards help protect teeth and gums from injury. This will provide a layer of cushion for their teeth, lips, and gums should they come into contact with anything. Also, mouthguards have been shown to reduce the risk of concussions. We can provide your child with a custom-made mouthguard so they can be comfortable, protected, and keep their mind on the game/match. If your child participates in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting or wrestling, it is recommended by the Australian Dental Association that protective equipment is worn to protect the mouth.

Why have a dentist fashion a mouth guard when they can be obtained over the counter at most pharmacy?

Sports mouth guards or athletic mouth guards can be obtained over-the-counter in many athletic stores, and come in different varieties. Stock kids mouthguards are ready-to-wear and are generally inexpensive, but the fit cannot be adjusted and could pose a problem for some children. Boiling and bite mouth guards are also readily available and are made of a thermoplastic material that can be moulded to the shape of the child’s teeth after it has been heated in hot water to become more pliable. This, however, could prove to be a challenge because some children cannot insert the correct teeth and tongue pressure to create a good mould. The best sports mouth guards are those that are custom fit to the child’s mouth by a dentist. These can give the child optimal protection against dental injuries that he may inadvertently get during rough physical activities or playing sport.

Custom-made mouthguards need to be regularly checked (once every year) to make sure they still fit correctly and are giving your teeth maximum protection. Your teeth are growing and jaw is changing each year so your mouthguard may need to be adapted or replaced to ensure adequate protection. Any damage can cause you to experience pain and discomfort and the mouthguard will be less able to absorb any impact to your face.

A poorly fitted mouthguard can cause children to gag and actually hinders the effectiveness of the protective equipment. It is important to take some time to fit the guard well if you are using a boil n bite. But be careful not to compromise the level of protection the guard is providing. Sports mouthguards must reach to your back molars without intruding on the soft palate as this is what triggers the gag reflex. If the mouthguard doesn’t reach far enough back it is not offering proper protection to the teeth. The other necessity when it comes to mouthguards is getting a guard that reaches up to the gums to help protect the roots of the teeth.

Different kinds of guards offer different levels of protection and quality. Different materials, the design i.e. how far back and how high up the guard reaches, thickness and the way the guard can be shaped to fit your mouth. The more features of the guard the higher the quality is likely to be i.e. material, thickness, boil n bite technology, custom fit, design and materials. For example one of our custom fit guards designed to match the mould of your mouth, protect your gums and back molars will be able to absorb impact and protect the teeth more effectively than a boil n bite that is not correctly fitted to your child’s mouth.

Mouthguards for patients with braces

While you have your braces we recommend purchasing a generic mouthguard and moulding it yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions. A custom mouthguard will prevent the teeth from moving and therefore defeat the whole purpose of having braces to straighten the teeth. There are many manufacturers of mouthguards that make wider versions for those wearing braces that are either flexible pre-made mouthguards or boil-and-bite mouthguards. These types of mouthguards can be purchased at most sports stores and are therefore easily accessible.  Once the braces or appliances are removed a custom fit mouthguard is the best.

How to care for your mouthguard

Before and after using a mouthguard, rinse it or brush with a toothbrush and paste, then allow it to air-dry. On occasion, clean the mouthguard with cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. When not in use, your mouth guard should be kept in a cool place and stored in a plastic container with vents that allow air to circulate.

Most importantly, remember to bring it home after the game. If it’s left in the car, for example, the heat can destroy the shape, rendering it useless. Keep an eye out for any wear or tear as this will indicate the need for replacement.

Prepare for the next sports season by investing in a custom kids mouth guard from Specialist Kids Dentist! Specialist Kids Dentist can assist you with your custom fitted mouthguard and protect your smile. Contact us for mouth