June 4, 2019

Mouth Guard Protecting Your Little Athlete’s Smile

Summertime means a lot more outdoor activities! As parents we all want our little kiddos to go outside, run around, play, use their imaginations, and get some exercise in. But with all the electronic devices, it seems hard to peel them off! (Are we right?!)

Enter sports. Playing on a team where there’s a dedicated schedule can really help make sure that your kid is be spending more time outdoors. As a diligent parent, we know you want to make sure that your child has the protection they need while engaging in activities that expose them to potentially serious injury.

Whether your child is engaged in team or contact sports like football, basketball, baseball, fencing, cycling, hockey, martial arts, racquetball, or sports like skateboarding, rollerblading, or water skiing, protective gear is crucial to avoid injury to the teeth or the jaw and avoid jaw surgery.

Why Wear a Mouth Guard for Sports

At Exceptional Dentistry in Palmdale, CA, we always encourage proactivity when it comes to you and your family’s oral and overall health, such as investing in the necessary safety equipment.

According to the American Dental Association, surveys conducted on sports-related dental injuries of people of all ages, genders and skill levels showed that they risked injury when engaging in organized or unorganized sports at recreational or competitive levels. In fact, the ADA pointed out that dental injuries are even high with non-contact activities and exercises!

In this day & age of sedentary living, we love that kids are involved in some kind of recreational or sports activity. It just means you’ll want to invest in a correctly-fitting mouth guard designed to protect their pearly whites.

Mouth Guards Protect From Severe Trauma

While mouth guards don’t always keep dental-related traumas from happening, they DO help lower the occurrence and severity of any sports-related dental injuries!

Wearing a mouth guard protects against the following:

  • Cracking, fracturing, displacing or knocking out teeth.
  • Facial scarring from the teeth biting soft oral tissues (lips, cheeks, tongue) during impact.
  • Jaw fractures that could require major surgery.
  • Possible concussion from a blow pushing the mandible onto the skull.

The ADA also confirms that mouthguard users benefit significantly when it comes to shielding the teeth and soft oral tissues from harm. This is accomplished thanks to the mouthguard’s ability to provide a protective surface distributing the forces arising from an impact, and effectively minimizing the severity of the traumatic injury to the mouth.

Bottom line: the ADA advises wearing protective mouth guards when engaging in recreational activities and sports.

Custom Made Mouth Guard = Your Kid Will Actually Wear It

Over-the-counter mouth guards are better than nothing, but a dental office can make a custom one that fits properly.

When you think about it, why don’t you wear that blouse you bought a couple of years ago that’s still sitting in the back of your closet? (You know the one with the tag still on it.) Or that pair of shoes still in their box?

Because when things don’t fit properly you don’t wear it. It’s that simple.

So, if your child complains about discomfort from wearing their mouth guard, investing in a custom fitted mouth guard so that they will actually wear it. Custom mouth guards sit a lot better and doesn’t interfere with their speech or breathing.

You’ll want to be sure that you check the mouth guard periodically to make sure it still has a snug fit. And definitely make sure it is cleaned after every use to keep away bacterial growth, and store it in a dry place & a protective case to prevent damage or warping.

How to Get Your Child to Wear a Mouth Guard

But what if your child or teen still balks at wearing a sports guard? How can you help them wear protection if their peers don’t? As you probably already know, teens often care more about how they look rather than about protecting themselves) You can help nip that in the bud by asking them how they’ll look with missing or damaged teeth from getting hit in the mouth, and how it might take several dental visits to fix missing or broken teeth.

Additionally, you can explain that a pretty smile exudes self-confidence and healthy teeth let them eat the food they love. Also, you could remind them that they can’t exactly grow new adult teeth to replace the ones they could lose to injury!

And if they are wearing or have worn braces, explain that a mouth guard protects their bite so it isn’t knocked out of alignment again from a sports injury.

With younger kids, sometimes something as simple as having them select fun colors for their new mouth guard will make them excited to wear it.

Be Proactive When It Comes To Your Child’s Health

Protecting your child’s smile all year round is important for their future. Smiles are a big deal as they interact with people in school, jobs, relationships, you name it!

Our skilled dentist, Dr. James Powell, and team are happy to create a custom mouth guard for your kid or teen. To schedule a visit, you can call us or simply make a reservation online. Help them protect their smile by investing in a mouth guard!

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