If you asked most kids what their favorite part of summer break is (besides being out of school), there’s a good chance they’d say all the extra time they have for sports and outdoor activities. But while they’re having fun being active, you may be concerned with keeping them safe and injury-free. One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect them is by getting a sports mouthguard. However, it’s important to realize that not all mouthguards are created equal! Keep reading below to learn about the difference between a custom-made appliance from a pediatric dentist and an option you can buy online or from the store. If you want to keep your child safe, you may as well make sure you’re being as effective as possible!
Why Are Sports Mouthguards So Important?
A mouthguard covers the upper teeth and prevents them from being knocked out or broken, reducing the likelihood of a traumatic dental emergency. In addition, they also protect the soft tissues (tongue, lips, and cheeks) and lessen the severity of concussions by redistributing the forces from head and neck impact.
Here are just some of the activities in which a custom mouthpiece should be worn:
- Mountain biking
- Baseball or softball
Which Type of Sports Mouthguard Should You Choose?
It’s important to buy a sports mouthguard that’s durable, tear-resistant and fits your child’s mouth perfectly. There are two main choices: custom-made and those bought online or from a store. Multiple studies have shown that store-bought mouthguards aren’t as effective as custom-made options. Here’s why:
- A custom-made appliance is quite a bit thicker and also more comfortable to wear. This increases the likelihood that your child will actually wear it and also makes it more effective and durable.
- When it comes to a mouthguard, the idea of “one size fits all” couldn’t be further from the truth. Since a custom-made mouthpiece has a more snug fit and is designed specifically for your child’s mouth, it won’t become loose and shift around and can do its job more effectively.
To get a custom-made appliance for your child, schedule a visit with a pediatric dentist. After taking impressions, they can typically make a custom mouthpiece in just 1-2 weeks.
Every child deserves a summer that’s care-free and doesn’t include head, neck, or dental injuries. With just a couple of visits to a pediatric dentist, you can protect your child’s smile for many years to come.
About the Author
Dr. Lynna Gripentrog is a board-certified pediatric dentist and a graduate of the dental program at Southern Illinois University. Having treated many sports-related injuries over the years, she knows how important high-quality, custom sports mouthguards are for prevention. If you have any questions about protecting your child’s dental health, she can be reached via her website.