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The Importance of Mouthguards for Children

Parents make sure their children have all the necessary equipment for staying safe. Helmets, safety goggles and protective clothing are absolute essentials for kids playing sports or participating in recreational activities. But often one crucial piece of safety equipment is often missing- a mouthguard.

Why Should My Child Wear a Mouthguard?

Protecting your child’s mouth and teeth is an important part of keeping them healthy and safe during sports and activities. Over 3 million children suffer from mouth or tooth related injuries during sports and most of the injuries could have been prevented by using a mouthguard. Mouthguards can help prevent serious dental damage like chipped, broken, or even knocked out teeth. They can also help to protect the soft tissue of the gums, lips, and tongue from damage.

Mouthguards act just like an elbow or knee pad to cushion a blow. When your child experiences trauma to their head or mouth, a mouthguard can help to absorb some of the force and soften the impact. Wearing a mouthguard can even reduce the severity of injuries like concussions.

Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?

The most common sports where kids experience dental related injuries are basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, rugby, football, and lacrosse. Dental damage most often affects children between the ages of 8 and 12, but can easily affect any child involved in sports or activities. Recreational activities like mountain biking, rock climbing, ice skating or skateboarding all have high potential for damage to the teeth or mouth.

If your child leads an active lifestyle with involvement in sports or activities, it is a good idea to have them wear a mouthguard. If you are unsure if your child should be wearing a mouthguard you can always contact your Care Dental Center pediatric dentist.

Can Children with Braces Wear Mouthguards?

Even children with braces should be wearing mouthguards. Mouthguards will not only ensure that the brackets of their braces are protected from damage, but also the soft tissue of their gums and lips.

Are There Alternatives to Mouthguards?

If a child cannot or will not wear a mouthguard there are viable alternatives. Depending on the sport or activity, your child can wear a face shield that protects the front of the face from impact and damage. A helmet can also protect the mouth and teeth, especially if it has a face guard.

Do Sports Require Children to Wear Mouthguards?

Many sports and activities run by schools or leagues require children to wear mouthguards, but many do not. Often, it is an issue that players and their parents must navigate through. While some worries about wearing mouthguards include sharing them among players or impacting communication during activities, these concerns should not outweigh the safety of the children involved.

What Kinds of Mouthguards Are Available?

There are many kinds of mouthguards available to suit the needs of your child. The choice of mouthguard will depend on the activity level of the sport, personal comfort, and preference of style.

How Can I Get My Child to Wear a Mouthguard?

Getting children to care about their safety as much as you, their parent, does is an uphill battle. But with something so important it is imperative not to give up. Children watch professional athletes and see that most of them do not regularly wear dental protection. Many professional sports leagues, such as the NFL, do not require athletes to wear mouthguards or any type of protection for their teeth or mouth. While this may easily influence children, you can help your child understand that there are many options to get comfortable and stylish mouthguards.

Determine how important fit and comfort are to your child and the best way to meet that need. If you choose to have a custom fitted mouthguard made by your Care Dental Center team, there are options available to suit multiple comfort and preference levels. Visiting with your dentist can also be helpful as they can explain to your child from an expert viewpoint exactly why wearing a mouthguard is a positive choice.

How Do I Properly Care for a Mouthguard?

Caring for a mouthguard is simple. Just follow these steps to make sure it is always clean and ready for any activity.

Properly protecting your child’s dental health means using an effective mouthguard during all applicable sports or activities. An effective mouthguard is comfortable, durable, easy to clean, and allows your child to breathe and talk easily.

Are you ready to look into a custom-fit mouthguard for your active child? Even if your child has already begun sports or activities, now is the perfect time! Contact the Care Dental Center office at (310) 626-0004 for more details and to schedule your appointment.


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