June 4, 2019

Mouth Guards Protecting Your Little Athletes Smile

With summer here your child may be spending more time outdoors or involved in recreational activities and sports. As a diligent parent, 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.

Protective Gear

• Helmet
• Eye shield
• Face mask
• Rib protectors
• Shoulder pads
• Jockstrap or protective cup
• Hip, tail, thigh, knee pads,
• Mouthguard
• Gloves
• Shin, elbow, upper arm guards
• Hand and wrist guards

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. We encourage you to protect your active child’s “smile zone” by providing a mouth guard to prevent injury while they engage in sports and recreation. Their “smile zone” encompasses the front area of the mouth that displays the teeth and gum line when they smile.

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!

We love that in this day and age of sedentary living, 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. While mouth guards don’t 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.

How to Get Your Child to Wear a Mouth Guard

But what if your child or teen balks at wearing a sports guard? How can you help them wear protection if their peers don’t? (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 what they might go through to fix them.

You can also explain that a pretty smile exudes self-confidence and healthy teeth let them eat the food they love. You can also tell them that they can’t exactly grow new adult teeth to replace the ones they could lose to injury! And if they are 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.

Caring for a Mouth Guard

If your child complains about discomfort from wearing their mouth guard, you can invest in a custom fitted mouth guard that sits well and doesn’t interfere with their speech or breathing. Check the mouth guard periodically to make sure it still fits properly, make sure it is cleaned after every use to keep away bacterial growth, and store it in a dry place and a protective case to prevent damage or warping.

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, is happy to meet with you and help you find the best mouth guard for your growing child or teen. To schedule a visit, you can call us or make a reservation online. Help them protect their smile zones by investing in a mouth guard!