Sports-Related Mouth Protection, Children Ages Six to 19 Years

Athletes are 60 times more likely to experience injury to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard.

The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing sports-related mouth injuries.

What does a mouthguard do?

Mouthguards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth.

What kinds of mouthguards are there?

  • Custom-fitted mouthguards (made by a dentist and provide the most protection but are the most expensive option)
  • Stock (pre-formed guards)
  • Boil and bite devices (soften in water and inserted in the mouth)

Whatever mouthguard your child uses, make sure it is tear-resistant, fits properly and comfortably, is easy to clean, and does not restrict speech or breathing.

During what sports should my child wear a mouthguard?

  • The American Dental Association recommends that anyone who participates in a sport that carries a significant risk of mouth injury wear a mouth protector.
  • Sports with increased risk of mouth injury include football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball.

How should my child care for their mouthguard?

  • Rinse the mouthguard before and after each use or brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Occasionally clean the mouthguard with cool, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.
  • Do not leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.
  • Transport and store the mouthguard in a sturdy container with vents.
  • Check the mouthguard for wear and replace it when the guard becomes distorted.

What are some other mouthguard safety tips?

Athletes should always wear a mouthguard during practice sessions as well as during games. Make sure your child does not chew on or cut pieces off his/her mouthguard. Doing so will decrease its effectiveness.

Where can I find more information about mouth safety?