How To Protect Teeth When Playing Sports
If your kiddo plays sports, then you’re likely familiar with the need for safety equipment like shin guards, helmets, and knee pads. What else can you do to protect your child’s teeth during sports? What should you do if your child experiences a mouth-related injury?
Here are some tips for keeping your kiddo’s smile ready for the winner’s circle!
Wear a Mouthguard
A mouthguard protects your child while participating in basketball, football, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, wrestling, and more! During practice and gameplay, wearing a mouthguard protects your child’s teeth during impacts with hard surfaces like other players and objects.
Advances in technology mean that modern mouthguards feature ultra-light designs that can stand up to just about anything. Their sophisticated construction allows your athlete to compete without fear of traumatic injuries like chipped or broken teeth, tooth loss, or nerve damage. Mouthguards do more than that, though! A mouthguard can prevent tongue injuries or lip damage.
Properly fitted mouthguards are vital tools for safe sports play. Athletes who wear mouthguards are 82-93% less likely to damage their teeth. However, many sports do not require their athletes to procure mouthguards. This means that as many as 84% of children playing contact sports do not have proper protection.
Luckily, there are many types of mouthguards available for your little athlete.
Types of Sports Mouthguards
Ready-Made Mouthguards: These appliances are sometimes thought of as the most affordable option for mouthguards. However, beware of this option. Because they come in arbitrary fits for small, medium, and large, it’s impossible to get the ideal mix of protection and comfort. That said, wearing a ready-made mouthguard is still better than not wearing any mouthguard at all.
Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: These mouthguards have a slight edge over ready-made mouthguards. While they are made of a thermoplastic material that allows for a little more customization than ready-made mouth guards, they don’t hold up to the knocks and falls involved in contact sports. They can make it difficult to talk, and it is harder to get children to wear them.
Custom-fitted Mouthguards: A custom-made mouthguard provides unmatched comfort and durability. Your little one will be more likely to wear this option because it has been engineered by our team to conform to the shape of their mouth and cushion it from damage. There is even evidence that a custom-made mouthguard can reduce concussion risk.
Wearing a Helmet
Wearing a helmet during high-performance sports like football, hockey, biking, or skating reduces the risk of experiencing a catastrophic injury. While most people know that helmets can protect against concussions, many are surprised to learn that a helmet can keep the jaw and mouth from damage.
Not all helmets are created equally. The helmet should match the application they are using it for during their sport. For example, a lacrosse helmet won’t provide adequate protection if they wear it during a hockey game. Likewise, cracked or damaged helmets won’t offer any protection.
Even the best helmet has limitations, but wearing one will reduce your child’s risk of experiencing a serious injury.
What to Do If Your Child Experiences a Mouth-related Injury?
Wearing protective gear is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the chance of tooth injury. Still, accidents are a fact of life for athletes. If your child experiences a dental emergency, you must act quickly. Getting your child expert care as soon as possible can make all the difference. Even knocked-out teeth can be saved with timely intervention.
If your child is injured, don’t make them finish their game. Instead, make an appointment as soon as possible with our experts. We offer same-day appointments for your convenience.
Sometimes knocked-out teeth or mouth injuries cause bleeding. Applying ice and pressure to the sensitive area can help stop bleeding and address any pain before an appointment.
We Are the Area’s Sports Injury Prevention Leader
Every athlete knows that a good offense is a good defense, and the same is true for protecting your child’s smile. Simple precautions can keep your child’s smile healthy and free them up to focus on setting new personal bests.
There’s no one better than Milestone Kids Dentistry for protecting your athlete’s smile. When injuries do happen, getting help as soon as possible helps mitigate any lasting damage.
Regular dental check-ins with a pediatric dentist will help your star athlete stay on the road to a healthy, bright smile. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about protecting your child’s teeth and smile during sports.