Do you have a budding athlete on your hands? You’re probably already buying pads for a host of vulnerable body parts, including knees and elbows. Make sure you add your child’s teeth to the list. Surprisingly, the mouth is the most commonly injured area of the body in contact sports. You can prevent or minimize the possibility of injury by purchasing a mouth guard.
A mouth guard covers the upper teeth and helps to prevent injuries to the teeth, lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw, as well as concussions. Talk to your dentist about which of the following types of mouth guards are right for your child:
- Stock or ready-made mouth guards are the least expensive and can be bought at most sports stores. Since they’re pre-formed, they often don’t fit very well. In fact, many athletes complain they make it difficult to breathe and speak and are too bulky, loose or uncomfortable.
- Boil-and-bite mouth guards, available at most sporting goods stores, may offer a better fit. You can mould these guards to fit your child’s mouth by boiling them in water and having your child bite into the warm plastic.
- Your dentist can design and construct a custom-fitted mouth guard. While this type of guard is more expensive than others, its custom fit protects your child’s breathing and speech from interference.
Caring for your child’s mouth guard is simple. Just rinse it under cold water after each use and occasionally clean it with soap and cool water. Since mouth guards can tear or wear out, be sure to replace it after each sporting season.
Talk to your dentist about preserving that all-star smile today. Your child’s teeth will thank you for it.