As we begin the start of a new school year, there is one important item that you must not miss off your back to school list if your child is a keen sports player: a sports mouth guard.
Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury in sports. there are many injuries that can occur from not wearing a mouth guard such as breaking a tooth, lacerating your lip or gums or breaking your jaw. Mouth guards not only protect the teeth but the jaw as well.
Often, children will refuse to wear a mouth guard because of speech or breathing difficulties that occur when exercising. They may also avoid mouth guards because they are concerned how they’ll look while wearing the protective gear. Although a mouth guard may not be the most popular choice, it could be the most important one they make.
Types of mouth guard
The most effective mouth guard is resilient, tear resistant and comfortable. It should fit properly, be durable, easy to clean and should not restrict speech and breathing. Generally a mouth guard only covers the upper teeth.
Available in small, medium and large, these mouth guards require not boiling of custom fitting to be worn. They tend to be quite uncomfortable and offer the lest protection of all types of mouth guards.
- Boil and Bite
These can be found in most sporting goods store. They do what they say, you boil the mouth guards for 30-60 seconds and then bite down on it to mould it to your teeth. This can be repeated until you get a proper fit.
- Custom made mouth guard
A custom-made mouth guard created by your dentist is considered to be the most comfortable and protective option.
Choose a mouth guard that works best for your and is the most comfortable. ANY MOUTH GUARD IS BETTER THAN NO MOUTH GUARD.
Reasons to wear a mouth guard during contact sports
1. Mouth guards help avoid tooth displacements, fractures and chips
The most obvious purpose of the mouth guard in sports is to prevent your teeth from cracking or breaking. A misplaced elbow may cost hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds in dental repair. Wearing a mouth guard creates a barrier between that elbow and your teeth, taking the brunt of the blow and distributing the force to more area, preventing broken or knocked out teeth.
2. Prevent permanent facial scarring
A direct hit to the mouth may not knock out or break a tooth, but it could cause the player to bite directly into the soft tissue of their mouth. Not only could this displace the tooth, it could potentially require you to need stitches and leave you with a scar. Tongue and cheek injuries from teeth are common oral injuries in sports. Children with braces are especially susceptible to these injuries. A mouth guard for braces helps protect cheeks and gums from cuts.
3. Stop jaw fractures
On top of broken teeth and tissue damage, a mouth guard protects against possible jaw fractures. Without the flexibility of a mouth guard to displace the force, the force simply becomes too much for your jaw to handle. A direct blow to the head that causes your teeth to bang together can put too much pressure on jawbones, resulting in breaks or fractures. The mouth guard acts as padding, saving your jaw from fractures that require surgery.
A mouth guard must be taken care of and cleaned properly like any other appliance that is utilised to help your teeth. It should also be replaced once it becomes worn, because it will no longer offer optimal protection.
Here are some top tip to keep your mouth guard looking its best:
1. Clean after each use with a toothbrush and some toothpaste
2. Store it safely in its protective case
3. Do not place in hot water or leave in the sun as the mouth guard may become warped
4. Do not chew the mouth guard
5. Replace if it does not fit or at the beginning of a new sports season
So if your child is playing sport this autumn, make sure their chance of suffering a dental injury is greatly reduced by having a properly fitting mouth guard. Call Valley Dental Practice on 01255 220322 to book an appointment today!