Mouthguards: Put Your Game Face On!

Whether your child is having fun with outdoor activities or gearing up for organized sports, it’s important to know which activities pose a significant risk of dental trauma and prevent the pain and cost of potential injuries to the mouth, teeth, and jaw.

Does my child need to wear a mouthguard?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends wearing a properly fitted mouthguard to help prevent dental trauma or facial injuries while playing sports and other recreational activities like bicycling and skateboarding. Most organized sports for kids require mouthguards as protective gear. This is because the use of mouthguards have proven to reduce the risk of teeth being:

• chipped or cracked
• broken off at the root or knocked out entirely
• pushed backward or forward
• pushed deeper into the gums or extruded from the socket

In fact, the National Institutes of Health recently found that athletes who use mouthguards have a rate of dental injuries that is 82% LESS than those who do not wear a mouthguard.

Mouthguards also help prevent damage to gums, tongue, cheeks and lips. They are essential if your child has braces, not only to protect against brackets being knocked loose, but also to prevent brackets from cutting the lips and cheeks during impact.

During which activities should my child wear a mouthguard?

It’s no surprise to hear that football, soccer, and hockey players should wear a mouthguard, but those participating in limited-contact, non-contact, and fast-paced activities should as well.

The ADA classifies these common activities as a risk for dental injuries:

Contact/Collision Sports: basketball, boxing, combat sports, football, handball, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby, soccer, water polo, and wrestling.

Limited-Contact and Other Sports: acrobatics, baseball and softball, bicycling, equestrian events, field events including shot-putting, gymnastics, inline skating, racquetball and squash, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, surfing, volleyball, and weightlifting.

What kind of mouthguard should my child wear?

The highest quality mouthguard is custom-fitted by your dentist. This option is also the most expensive and might not make sense for young athletes who do not have all of their permanent teeth, are still growing, or will be receiving orthodontic treatment. You should consult your dentist or orthodontist for the best option while wearing braces.

(Speaking of orthodontics, Invisalign and other similar orthodontic trays will not protect teeth from injury. They are not thick enough to cushion the impact trauma that can damage teeth. Orthodontic trays should be removed while wearing a mouthguard.)

A more affordable option can be purchased at sporting goods stores or online. These self-adapting mouthguards soften when heated. Once it cools down, the user inserts the guard into the mouth, bites down and presses tightly on the cheeks and with the tongue to help mold the plastic to the upper teeth.

America’s ToothFairy has partnered with CustMBite, the only mouthguard brand to receive the ADA’s Seal of Approval, to offer mouthguards that protect against injury and give back to help kids in need protect their teeth too!

For every America’s ToothFairy mouthguard purchased, CustMBite will donate a mouthguard to a child living in a low-income household. Plus, a portion of proceeds benefit our mission to increase access to dental care for children in underserved communities. You can order yours on Amazon.

Once you have purchased a mouthguard for your child, be sure it is properly cared for. Here are some tips from the American Dental Association for how to care for your mouthguard:

  • Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting.
  • Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.

Between games, it’s important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouthguard is always ready to go:

  • Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.
  • During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouthguard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.
  • Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.
  • Check fit and for signs of wear and tear to see if it needs replacing.
  • Some mouthguards have fallen victim to family pets, who see them as chew toys. Store your mouthguard and case somewhere your pet cannot get to it.

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