Teeth are a super important part of every athlete’s smile. But playing sports may increase the odds of dental injuries. In fact, athletes are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard, according to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation. April is National Facial Protection Month – and a great time to get a mouthguard for your young athlete.
Types of mouthguards
These plastic devices vary in price and comfort, but all provide some protection. Here’s a look at the three primary choices.
Stock: An inexpensive option, it comes pre-formed and ready to wear. Unfortunately, though, that means it often doesn’t fit well.
Boil and bite: Commonly found in sporting goods stores, this mouthguard requires boiling water to soften it. After a quick dunk in cold water, kids bite down on it, allowing it to adapt to the unique shapes of their teeth.
Custom made: These are crafted by your child’s dentist. They’re more expensive than other options because of their personalized fit.
Follow these tips to ensure your child’s mouthguard is well-maintained.
- Rinse it before and after each use, or brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Keep the mouthguard clean and dry in between games and practices.
- Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container with vents. This helps keep it dry and prevents bacteria from growing.
- Never leave it in the sun or in hot water, since this can affect the fit.
- Routinely check the fit. Children and teens may have to replace their mouthguard more often since they’re still growing.
- Look for signs of wear and tear and replace immediately if damaged.
Brought to you by Delta Dental of Michigan. For more information, visit deltadentalmi.com.