School is resuming for our children. Along with a new school year, many adolescents and teens begin a new season of participation in sports. As a parent, I’m all for involvement that reinforces team interaction and active play. As a dentist, I hold my breath. Year after year, I see patients who have taken a blow to the mouth or jaw that resulted in deep cuts to the lips or tongue, cuts on the inside of the mouth, chipped teeth, teeth that are knocked loose or out altogether, and jaw injuries.
It’s not just the rigorous contact sports such as football and hockey that place your child in harm’s way for these injuries. Basketball, gymnastics, skate boarding, soccer, lacrosse and baseball are just as likely to be the setting for an injury to the teeth, mouth or jaw.
These problems can be avoided, or their severity can be greatly reduced, with a simple, inexpensive mouth piece. A mouthguard is priceless when it comes to the avoidance of injuries, some which can be severe. An athlete is 60 times more prone to an injury to teeth when a mouthguard is not worn. Mouthguards can even reduce the severity of concussions.
There are over-the-counter types, which tend to be bulky and cumbersome in the mouth. These tend to get less use as a result. Somewhat better are the boil-and-bite mouthguards, which conform to the fit of teeth to some extent. The types that are most favored are custom-made mouthguards formed specifically to the contours of teeth and gums by an experienced dentist. A mouthguard that fits well without bulk tends to be worn more often and with less resistance by the wearer.
A custom-made mouthguard is resilient, tear-resistant, will not interfere with speech or breathing, and fits comfortably. They should be worn during practice sessions as well as game times. And, last year’s mouthguard may not have the snug fit that is necessary for optimal protection. A newly-fitted mouthguard is advised on an annual basis. These custom fits are highly important for those who have braces, a protruding jaw, receding chin or cleft palate.
Mouthguards should be easy to care for with simple measures. For custom-made types, cleaning can be done by rinsing and brushing with a toothbrush. It should be stored in a strong container that is vented and never left sitting in the sun or held under hot water.
I cannot tell you the treatment time, expense and parental anguish I’ve seen when a child’s mouth injury occurs. They can be avoided so simply and affordably. Ask about custom mouthguards for your family members as well as yourself. When your children see YOU are committed to wearing a mouthguard while biking, shooting hoops, and playing softball in the backyard, they’ll be more inclined to get into the habit themselves.
Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.