There is no doubt that football has become a mainstay of youth sports in America. It is also one of the roughest, and kids need a lot of equipment to protect themselves while playing. They need helmets, gloves, pads, eye black and cleats, which are all important, but there is one small piece of equipment that is often not considered as much: the mouth guard.
Mouth guards are worn over the teeth during contact sports to prevent oral injury. Athletes are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard during sporting events, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, but there is so much more that the small piece of equipment does. Mouth guards also protect against dangerous lacerations in the mouth. They assist in preventing jaw fracture and can protect the jaw from dislocation.
There are 3 main types of mouth guards:
- Stock. The least expensive, stock type mouth guards come in three sizes: small, medium and large. They don’t fit great and some users complain that they make it harder to talk.
- Boil and Bite. A semi-custom fit can be made using a “boil and bite” mouth guard. Hot water is used to soften the plastic and your child then bites into the guard, molding it to his or her teeth. This type of mouth guard offers good protection.
- Custom. Your dentist makes the best fitting mouth guards. Custom mouth guards are the best option if your child plays a number of sports each year or plays sports with continuous activity, like basketball or soccer, and is advised for a child with braces so that the mouth guard won’t interfere with treatment. Once a child reaches age 13 or 14, a custom fitted mouth guard should generally continue to fit for as long as needed.
Talk to your Mesa Dental office about personal, form-fitting mouthguards. We want to be sure that your kids are as well-protected as possible when they hit the gridiron.