Mouthguards – Protect Your Child’s Teeth on the Field

After nearly two years away or interrupted from playing the sports we love,, it’s that time where we are getting geared up to start sporting competitions again. When checking whether those boots, runners and shorts still fit, don’t forget to check the mouthguard!

Only a third of children aged 5-17 years wear a mouthguard([1]) while playing organised sports; and with the unpredictable nature of dental injuries, this can prove to be quite costly for families and painful for kids. These injuries may require an extensive management plan and are expensive to treat. Injuries can range from split lips, cracked or chipped teeth to more extensive injuries such as knocked out teeth and broken jaws.

Read on to understand more about mouthguard options.

What is a mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a protective, flexible shield worn in your mouth to prevent dental injuries during contact or collision sports and other activities that may cause impact to your face and mouth areas. The thickness of the mouthguard is determined by the type of sport played and the level of physical contact that is expected.

What kind of mouthguards are available?

There are three kinds of mouthguards available to choose from;

  1. Customised mouthguards are custom made to very snugly fit your teeth and mouth. They are made by your dentist who takes an impression of your teeth, to create a customized mould from which the mouth guard is made. As the mouth guard is customised to you, it’s thickness will be matched to the sport being played, whilst the colours can be chosen to match your team colours. Custom fitting allows your dentist to accurately assess your mouth and provide you with the most comfortable and best fitting mouthguard that will not fall out during impact. A customized mouthguard is the best option to prevent expensive dental injuries as a result of not wearing or wearing a poorly fitting mouthguard.
  2. Stock mouthguards are available for purchase from a sports store or chemist. They are a ‘one size fits all’ device and so does not snugly fit to the shape of your mouth, may be loose or uncomfortable to wear during sports and has the risk of falling out during an impact.
  3. Boil and Bite mouthguards are also available over the counter at a sports store or chemist. These are ‘self-fitted’ by heating the mouthguard in hot water to soften and then biting into the mouthguard so it takes the shape of the mouth and teeth. They fit a little better than the stock mouthguards but are not a tight fit. They also have the same disadvantages as the stock mouthguards.

Caring for your mouthguard

It is important to look after your mouthguard keeping it clean from use to use. After using your mouthguard, rinse it with soap and warm water and allow to air-dry. Occasionally use a denture cleaning solution or Miltons solution to disinfect it and store in a container with good ventilation.

What else can a mouthguard assist with?

In addition to protection from sports injuries, mouthguards can also assist with teeth grinding and snoring. In consultation with a medical practitioner or dentist, a diagnosis of teeth grinding or sleep apnoea could result in a having to wear a special type of mouthguard to assist with the treatment of these issues.

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[1] The Importance of a mouthguard when playing sport-

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