Well, summer is officially here and you’re probably wanting to get the kiddos back into their sports programs. There are a lot of great benefits to playing sports and engaging in regular exercise: helping reduce the risk of obesity, increasing cardiovascular health, and of course strengthening those growing bones and muscles. But it’s not just that – it’s also the social aspect of learning how to problem solve as a team and being with like-minded peers.
Mouthguards and Youth Sports
Youth sports are great but you also have to teach proper safety to your kids so they don’t get hurt. Most of our minds probably go to traumatic brain injury when we think of injuries in contact sports. And yes, that is a possibility, and the sports industry is taking a lot of precautions against that. But what most of us probably aren’t thinking about is protecting our children’s teeth. This is, of course, a blog on a dentist website, so it makes sense that we’ll be talking about teeth.
You might be surprised to know that the most common sports related facial injuries happen to the athletes’ jaws and teeth. Some sports like lacrosse and football utilize face guards or face masks, but even then sometimes teeth can still get knocked out. So the best we can do is to teach our kids about safety when playing sports and equip them with the best gear to prevent them getting hurt. We’re talking about mouthguards, here.
They American Dental Association has said that wearing a mouthguard reduces the likelihood of dental injuries by 82%. Most contact youth sports choir the children to wear mouthguards. Sports like martial arts, football, and Lacrosse some of the most common contact sports.
Types of Mouthguards
So what type of mouthguard should you get? There are a couple kinds.
Over the counter mouthguards available at most sporting goods stores and pharmacies. They come in generic small, medium, large sizes and generally on the cheaper side.
Boil and Bite
The boil and bite and variety tend to be a little more expensive but offer a better fit and therefore better protection. These are fairly simple to use; as the name implies, you boil the mouthguard to soften the material and then apply pressure with your teeth to mold it to your specific bite. Game On mouthguards are the only ones that the ADA has put their seal of approval on.
How Long do Mouthguards Last?
Now, these mouthguards don’t last forever. You should trade them out for new ones every 6 months or after each sports season, whichever comes first. The reason being, after some time the material begins to breakdown. Our saliva is slightly acidic to help with pre digestion of food, but it also slowly breaks down anything that we keep in our mouth. Accelerates the breakdown of the material.
Cleaning Your Mouthguard
It’s a good habit to have your child clean the mouthguard and after each use so that bacteria does not grow on it. Soap and water should do just fine. Do not try to put a mouthguard in the dishwasher or boil it. That will completely ruin it and you’ll have to purchase another one.
Murfreesboro Family Dentistry
We love seeing our kids out on the field, but we hate seeing them get hurt. Make sure you’re using the right mouthguards in the right way. We here at Murfreesboro Family Dentistry enjoy seeing our patients, but we don’t enjoy seeing them because they got their teeth knocked out getting sacked during a football game. Protect those teeth. Wear a mouthguard.