The summer holidays are well under way and many of us are now preparing for the new school term ahead. As well as buying the obligatory larger size of uniform, how many of us have added a mouth guard to our child’s kit list? If your child is playing contact sports in or out of school, then protection is a number one priority. Every sport carries a risk of dental damage and we wouldn’t dream of letting our children step onto the hockey pitch or rugby field without correctly fitted protective clothing, so let’s not forget the mouth guards either.
There are several reasons why we should all be encouraged to wear a mouthguard if engaging in contact or ball sports.
- First and foremost, the mouth guard is there to protect the teeth from fracturing.
- A mouth guard is designed to cushion the teeth and distribute any force from an impact, therefore helping to prevent displacement (moving) of a tooth.
- A mouth guard is there to prevent a tooth from being knocked out.
- They are designed to prevent soft tissue injuries. Because the sharp edges of the teeth are covered, you are less likely to bite your cheek, tongue or split a lip during a collision.
- They may protect against concussion. (This is debated in the Journal of Athletic Training).
- They protect against jaw fractures, which often result in major surgery.
Every mouth is different, which is why it is so important that a mouth guard or gum shield is personalised for the best fit. The guards we recommend to our patients are custom made from an impression taken of their teeth and gums and we can also supply mouth guards that can be used for children who are fitted with braces. The custom fit removes the worry of an uncomfortable guard as it is moulded for the child, and there are multiple colours to choose from. You could even match a guard to your favourite team colours. Depending on your child’s age, their mouth guard may need replacing quite often as their teeth are still growing and we recommend bringing in your guard to your regular appointments, so that the fit can be checked. Please contact us for further information.