Protect Your Smile: Mouthguards

With the start of spring sports right around the corner, we know that many parents have questions about protecting their kids and ensuring their safety. The American Dental Association estimates that 20-25 million youths participate in competitive sports. Organized sports account for 36% of all unintentional injuries to children and adolescents. Of these injuries, 10-20% involve the child’s mouth, teeth, or jaw. So, what can you as a parent do to protect your child’s smile?

Mouthguards are an excellent way to protect your child and their smile. The National Youth Sports Foundations says that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they are not wearing a protective mouthguard.

Many people assume that mouthguards are only useful in sports like football and boxing, but they are advantageous across most sports that children compete in. The American Dental Association recommends the use of mouthguards for all of the following sports: gymnastics, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racketball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Is this list more extensive than you expected? That’s alright; many parents are surprised by the extent of these recommendations. As we like to say, it’s not just how you take care of your child’s teeth, but that you take care of them from the beginning.

What should I be looking for in a mouthguard?

Typically, everything you need to know about a mouthguard will be written on the packaging. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy, and other sporting goods department stores usually have a considerable selection of mouthguards that will be perfectly adequate.  

You’ll want to make sure you get them the correct size – most mouthguards are measured in youth and adult sizes. The youth-sized mouthguards are usually for kids age ten and under, but if your child is big for their age, the adult-sized mouthguards should work well.  

Next, you’ll want to make sure you get the appropriate mouthguard for their sport. While most mouthguards can be used across many sports, some guards favor certain sports. Football players might prefer larger-profile mouthguards with a clip to attach to their helmet. Baseball and basketball players often prefer smaller-profile mouthguards that allow them to talk more clearly while they wear their guard. If your child is boxing, wrestling, or participating in a high-contact sport that does not involve a lot of protective equipment, the ADA recommends getting a specific mouthguard.

It is also imperative to note that some mouthguards work better for kids with braces. This will be indicated on the mouthguard’s packaging.  

Does PDAO sell mouthguards at the office?

We do sell mouthguards! If you are interested in purchasing a mouthguard directly from our offices, we have two options available. For our first option, you will come in and have a mold taken of your mouth. This mold is used to make a custom-fitting mouthguard here at our offices. These cost $75. Our second option costs $100, and it gets you a more customized mouthguard that we get from a third-party lab. With this option, you get a slightly better fit, and you have more color customization options.  

Are you interested in scheduling a time to get one of our custom-fitting mouthguards? Call us today!