A child's sports-related dental injury can mean time lost from school and work, plus substantial cost. A properly fitted, comfortable mouth guard, worn at practice and games, can greatly reduce the likelihood of a serious dental injury.
Many people think that mouth guards are only for high contact sports, or for high school athletes. However, the American Dental Association recommends that they be used at whatever age your child begins to play sports where they are at risk of contact with another person, or a sport with high risk of head injury.
The sports for which the ADA recommends mouth guards be worn are: acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling. Even if children aren’t at a level where they are making a lot of physical contact, making the mouth guard a part of the sports uniform is a great habit to start at a young age.
Not only do mouth guards help prevent dental injuries, they also help prevent concussions according to a study by peer reviewed journal, ‘General Dentistry.’ It is thought that mouth guards absorb some of the shock that cause concussions. If your child clenches or grinds their teeth, a mouth guard can also help alleviate the pressure.
A study by the ADA found that individuals are sixty percent times more likely to damage their teeth while playing sports if they are not wearing a mouth guard. The ADA also estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries per year. Although the number of sports related tooth injuries tops 600,000 per year.
Be sure to rinse your mouth guard with water after each use, and store in a container with holes for ventilation.