The most common facial injury in sports is a dental injury. However, a survey conducted by the American Dental Association found that 84 percent of children do not wear mouthguards while playing sports because they are not required to wear them. While other protective gear, such as helmets, goggles, shoulder pads, and shin guards are required, many sports overlook the importance of children wearing a mouthguard.
What is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a thin, flexible piece of plastic that is placed in the mouth over the teeth to protect the oral structure while playing sports. It minimizes the chances of a sport-related injury to the mouth and jaw.
When Should Children Wear a Mouthguard?
There are some leagues and schools that do require that kids wear a mouthguard, primarily for playing hockey and football. As an orthodontist in Newport Beach, we often see chipped and broken teeth from various contact sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, as well as other activities like ice skating and skateboarding.
As a kids’ dentist, we encourage parents to have their child wear a mouthguard for any sports-related activity, even if it is not required.
Do Kids with Baby Teeth Need MouthGuards Too?
Quite simply, yes! While many people think it’s no big deal if a baby tooth gets damaged or completely knocked out, that’s really not the case. Baby teeth play an important role, including helping children chew properly for good nutrition, helping with speech development and saving space for permanent teeth.
When a little one suffers trauma to their mouth, it can injure the surrounding bone that supports the tooth, can damage any developing permanent teeth and can lead to alignment and spacing issues.
How to Care For a Sports Mouthguard
The best way to clean a sports mouthguard is to rinse it with warm water and liquid soap every day. Rinse away all of the soap, pat it dry with a towel and then put it in its storage case.
You should also replace the mouthguard if your child loses teeth, your child goes through a growth spurt, or if the guard becomes worn out or gets damaged.
Contact Your Newport Beach Kids’ Dentist and Orthodontist
At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, our orthodontist and kids’ dentist want to make sure that we provide you with important information regarding how to protect your children’s teeth from injury. Playing sports should be fun, and wearing a mouthguard will decrease your child’s chances of a dental injury. You should also bring the mouthguard to dental checkups, so the dentist can determine if it needs to be replaced.
If you’ve been looking for a kids’ dentist or orthodontist, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to being your Newport Beach kids’ dentist and orthodontist.