Have you ever considered that your kids, even the ones who don’t play football, should be using mouth guards when they play any sport? Mouth guards have been a staple piece in contact football equipment gear, hockey gear, lacrosse gear, and the boxing arena for a long time. Encouragingly, we’re starting to find them used more often in other sports that aren’t considered “contact sports” as well. These other sports include professional basketball, professional soccer, skateboarding, roller derby, biking, and more.
Why It’s a Good Idea for Your Kid to Wear a Mouth Guard
Your school’s team may not require your kids to wear a mouth guard for his or her chosen sport, but we’re going to talk about why they should be worn.
Just because a sport isn’t classified as a contact sport, doesn’t mean your kid won’t have a dramatic fall or take a hit to the head. Sports like soccer and basketball restrict physical contact between players with their “foul” systems but any of you who have played soccer or basketball or even just watched, have seen that fouls do occur. Furthermore, those accidental contacts can be truly cringe worthy, resulting in injuries.
Sometimes it’s an arm swinging around with the ball, the elbow cocked and unintentionally lands on the defender’s jaw. Sometimes it’s a midfielder who slams to the ground when they’re slide tackled. Or maybe you’ve witnessed a fearsome trick on the half pike only to watch the skater miss the landing and crash.
What to Do in Case of Dental Trauma or Injury
The American Dental Assistants Association states that about 20 million kids are involved in official sports programs across our nation, moreover an even greater 80 million kids are participating on a recreational (and unsupervised) level. Combine that knowledge with the information that five million teeth are lost on a yearly basis due to dental trauma and injuries from sports.
Here are the common dental injuries sustained by athletes. We’ve outlined how to care for them in the immediate aftermath until you can get yourself and your kid to the dentist’s chair. If the injury occurs during a game, please do not wait until the game is over to go to the dentist. The sooner the damage to the teeth are addressed, the better the outcome.
Broken or chipped tooth, or a root fracture
- Carefully bite down on a towel or washcloth to help hold the tooth still within the mouth in place.
- Transport any fragments to the dentist office in milk, or gauze soaked in saline.
Tooth knocked out
- Pick up the tooth by the crown, but do not touch the root of the tooth.
- Do not attempt to brush, or sterilize the tooth.
- Transport tooth to the dentist office in milk, or gauze soaked in saline.
Tooth in the socket but incorrectly positioned
(if the tooth has been pushed back or forward, or further into the socket)
- Do not attempt to fix positioning.
- Carefully bit down on a towel or washcloth to hold tooth still and go to the dentist’s office.
Studies Show Mouth Guards Protect from Dental Trauma and Injury
That’s right, research supports the use of mouth guards. In 2018, a group of researchers worked together to perform a review and meta analysis of 14 studies that were selected for the study due to their subject matter. They investigated, “ the impact of mouth guards (MG) on the prevalence of dento-alveolar trauma (DT) among athletes of contact sports.”
The conclusions this study found are significant and persuasive. They determined that mouth guard users were 82%-93% less likely to experience dento-facial injuries. Additionally, non-mouth guard users had a prevalence of dental trauma of 48.31% to 59.98%, as opposed to mouth guard users who had a prevalence of dental trauma at only 7.5% to 7.75%.
That’s a tremendous difference, isn’t it? The American Dental Association (ADA) has been supportive of increasing the use of mouth guards and advocates that they be used in all sports and recreational activities.
Types of Mouth Guards
If the idea of paying for a custom mouth guard for each of your kids causes your wallet to shrivel up and your heart to beat faster with anxiety, take a deep breath. There are three types of mouth guards on available on the market today at a range of prices.
Stock – Stock mouth guards are exactly what they sound like. They can be bought just about anywhere that has a sporting equipment aisle. They are however, the economical option, as they are inexpensive and preformed. These stock mouth guards may come in a range of sizes to choose from such as “youth” or “adult”, but they won’t conform to your kid’s jaw. This means they can be bulky consequently making it difficult to talk, and can cause discomfort, even gagging.
Boil and Bite – These mouth guards are a step up from the stock mouth guards. As you might have guessed from their catchy name, they can at least partially conform to your kid’s individual bite. These are more likely found in sporting goods stores. You place the mouth guard in boiling water for them to soften, then while still soft, have your kid bite down and hold it.
Instructions will vary depending on the brand, so be sure to read thoroughly before you boil and bite. This type of mouth guard will cost more than the stock guards but will provide a more customized fit, consequently making them more comfortable and less likely to induce any gagging. Unfortunately biting through these guards is relatively common on the grounds that the material will degrade over time and use.
Custom – A custom made mouth guard will provide the maximum protection possible for your kid’s teeth and jaw. Whereas a custom guard will fit perfectly to the nooks and crannies of the teeth. They are made from high grade materials so bite-through is rare, and the integrity of the materials will not degrade. These mouth guards also have the benefit of being the most comfortable. Having a custom fit ensures that your kid will be able to talk, and breath easily.
Over the Counter Mouth Guard that Have the ADA Seal of Acceptance
If you can’t afford to fit your kids for custom mouth guards, but want something dentist approved, there is one mouth guard that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, the Game On Mouthguard.
If you really want a custom mouth guard, talk to us at your next visit. We can discuss your options together and find a solution.