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.
- The National Federation of State High School Associations mandates mouthguards for athletes who play football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey.
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.