Protecting your child’s smile when he or she plays sports is essential. Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are among the most common injuries suffered by athletes.
Mouthguards help protect teeth and gums from injury. If your youngster participates in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Dental Association that a mouthguard be worn.
Types of Mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard. When choosing one, be sure to pick a mouthguard that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted to your child’s mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent him from breathing properly.
If he or she wears braces or a retainer, it is imperative to wear a mouthguard. Dr. Rivera or Dr. Garcia can show your athlete how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right one.
Taking Care of Your Child’s Mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any special dental appliance, it is vital to take care of your child’s mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean. Here are a few simple ways to keep a mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub it after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store the mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave it in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace the mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace it if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not wear a retainer with a mouthguard. If your child wears braces, we will design a mouthguard to protect the teeth and his braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off a mouthguard.
- Bring it to each dental checkup so we can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!
Our goal is to minimize your child’s chances of a sports-related injury to his or her smile. Be sure to ask us about mouthguards at your child’s next dental checkup.