Athletic activities like organized team sports, bicycling or even simply kicking a ball around proves to keep the kids active and healthy. Sports give them an adrenaline kick, fun and character-building features of athletics, but the possibility of injuries is inevitable.
While immediate trauma is one hurdle a child faces, sports-related injuries also result in missing school and the paying for substantial medical costs.
It is essential to pay a close attention to the children’s brain and body, which is why wearing protective gear like mouth guards, helmets and pads is advised. Among the protective gear, mouthguards are the least expensive and affordable but often overlooked device.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), 10-39% of dental injuries are related to sports accidents. This can be simply prevented by wearing a mouth guard. According to American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 67% of parents admitted that their children do not follow the simple, yet effective practice of wearing comfortable and well-fitted mouth guards during organized sports where the possibility of orofacial injury exists.
Mouth guards are also known as athletic mouth protectors and sporting guards which snuggly fit over the upper teeth. Mouth guards protect the entire oral region from any traumatic injury. They help keep the child’s smile and aesthetic appearances intact. Mouth guards are also recommended to help children avoid the teeth damage caused by bruxism.
While we think mouth guards are essentially designed to protect the teeth, they also help reduce the degree of force from the trauma impact point to the central nervous system. Mouth guards reduce the chances of traumatic brain injury in children.
Lip, cheek and tongue lesions, tooth fractures, concussions, gum and soft tissue injuries, jawbone fractures are neck injuries are the kinds of injuries that can be avoided only by wearing mouth guards.
Types of Mouthguards
At present, there are varieties of mouth guard brands which depend on three factors. Before choosing the right mouth guard, a parent should consider:
- Kind of sport the child plays
- How often the child plays the sport
With the above pointers in mind, the following are the types of mouth guards available:
A) Customized mouth guards
Customized mouth guards made by the dentists provide the best protection and are the most comfortable mouth guards as they are made to fit perfectly. An impression of the child’s mouth is taken and then the plastic is molded around the impression which makes the guard most likely stay in place. Customized mouth guards are the most expensive kinds, costing around $60 to $285.
B) Boil and bite mouth guards
These are also known as self-adapted mouth guards and made from thermoplastic which can be found in sporting goods stores. To begin with, thermoplastic is immersed in hot water to make it flexible. Next, it is pressed on the child’s teeth to create a custom mold. Boil and bite mouth guards are less expensive when compared to customized mouth guards, provide minimal comfort and are not as strong either, which could lead to bite-through problems.
C) Stock mouth guards
Stock mouthguards can be bought off the shelf and immediately fitted into the kid’s mouth. These mouth guards offer limited protection because it fits loosely over the teeth. Stock mouthguards are the least expensive kinds which should be clenched to keep the guard in place. Due to this, the child finds it a little difficult to breathe or speak.