There are many youngsters playing sports like football, rugby, hockey and martial arts. This is great for their health and wellbeing but it might not be great for their teeth! There are risks with any contact sport, which is why it’s so important to consider wearing a mouthguard.
Lost or damage teeth is an injury that can occur, it’s not enough to assume it will never happen to your child. Whilst it’s never possible to completely protect a child from injury during sports, there are steps that can be taken to greatly reduce the harm that can be caused and these include wearing a mouthguard.
Also known as sportsguards, a mouthguard is a soft plastic device that protects against oral injury which include the teeth, mouth, gums, tongue, jaw and cheeks. They can be purchased in a generic form or can be custom made to fit an individual’s teeth much better. They are an incredibly useful deterrent against common injuries that can happen in different contact sports.
For football – mouthguards help to guard against blows to the mouth and some evidence has suggested they are useful in protecting against concussions.
Rugby – as a full-on contact sport with tackling and scrums, the possibility for blows to the face, mouth and head is significant. As with football, mouthguards assist in preventing oral injury and possibly in preventing concussions. Should also be worn during training sessions. For Rugby Training Drills, visit a site like Sportplan
Hockey – teeth require extensive protection from flying pucks, collisions and hockey sticks!
Basketball – Falling and accidental collisions with elbows are the biggest risks in basketball that a mouthguard can help with.
Do I really need a mouthguard?
Studies from the American Dental Association have shown that sports players who don’t wear a mouthguard are sixty times more likely to suffer some kind of dental injury. In fact, most youth sports clubs and organisations will insist on one being worn and there is evidence to show that one that fits comfortably to a child’s individual oral structure is the most effective choice.
If a child has braces, it is even more important to choose a custom fit mouthguard over a generic shop bought device. This is because off-the-shelf varieties often don’t provide enough space for the braces or would end up being too loose to offer any real protection. A correctly fitting mouthguard is more important for children with braces as the braces do increase the injury risk for both the individual and their team mates.
What injury could be caused?
Injuries that can occur vary from minor cuts and abrasions to more serious lacerations, broken teeth, teeth knocked out, concussions and fractures. Many trips to A&E involve children between the ages of 5 and 14, the majority of which are sports-related injuries. For your child to fully participate and enjoy their chosen sport or activity, it’s important to ensure they are as protected as well as possible and that includes wearing a mouthguard to protect their beautiful smile!