Spring Sports Season is a Great Time to Update Your Mouthguard

If you have a child or teen who’s involved in playing sports, chances are good you already know about the recommendation to wear mouthguards. But depending on your league’s rules, mouthguards may only be a recommendation rather than a requirement. Even if your child is already wearing a mouthguard, spring is a good time to update it.

Many mouthguards are not designed to last forever. But the spring season is an ideal time to have a professional dental evaluation of how well your child’s mouthguard fits and to consider replacing it. April is National Facial Protection Month, which makes it a perfect time to look at this issue. The providers at Meadowbrook Dental Care in Mineola, New York, offer this guide to when and why you should replace your child’s mouthguard.

Mouthguards are an essential part of protecting your child

You may remember the “good old days” of playing childhood sports without a mouthguard. But there’s a reason professional advice calls for wearing them now. As many as 36% of all sports-related injuries involve the teeth.

Dental emergencies related to playing sports can be traumatic and expensive events. Sometimes, teeth that are knocked out in the process of playing sports may not be able to be reattached. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates 3 million children lose teeth while playing sports every year and 67% of parents say their kids don’t always wear them. Protection equals prevention.

Mouthguard needs change as teeth grow

A child’s teeth continue to grow for many years and the jaw gets wider. For this reason, you shouldn’t count on getting many years out of the same mouthguard, especially the younger the age of your child. 

As jaws get wider, in particular, it can make it so the old mouthguard isn’t protecting your child’s teeth as well. Compared with the relatively small price of a new mouthguard, restorative work after a dental injury can be much more costly.

Quality matters

While you can pick up a generic mouthguard at sporting goods stores or even in the pro shop where your child plays sports, it is never the best option. While it’s certainly better than nothing, it can’t compare with a custom, dentist-made mouthguard. 

A custom-made mouthguard is the best apparatus for protecting your child’s teeth against damage and injury. It can even be worn over braces and provides the most protection from injury.

Injuries without wearing mouthguards involve more than just teeth

There’s no question wearing mouthguards protects the teeth against damage, especially when playing contact sports or even spring sports, like baseball. While it’s clear teeth can be knocked out in the course of playing sports, this is far from the only damage that can happen to your child’s teeth, mouth, and even face.

Mouthguards prevent the risk of tooth loss, gum damage, and jaw injury. Wearing a mouthguard may even lower the risk of your child getting a concussion.

Wearing a custom mouthguard also has another significant advantage over one-size-fits-all options available at sporting goods stores: it will fit more comfortably. This more comfortable fit will make it easier for your child to breathe and talk, making it more likely they’ll want to wear it.

You wouldn’t let it be optional for your child to wear a helmet before participating in sports. Don’t let mouthguards be optional, either. It’s the best way to protect their teeth and jaw from injuries. If you’d like to talk to us about getting fitted for a mouthguard, contact Meadowbrook Dental Care or request an appointment online.

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