The Importance of Mouth Guards in Youth Sports
Children love to play sports, and more than 30 million children all over the world play and participate in some type of sport every year. Playing any type of sport is a fun experience that helps children hone their social skills and helps them stay physically active and fit.
However, many types of sports can be dangerous. When sufficient precautions are not taken, injuries can occur that affect the gums, the tongue, and the teeth. To avoid these injuries, make sure your child wears a mouth guard.
What Is a Mouth Guard and What Does It Do?
A mouth guard is a small protective piece of plastic that is carefully placed inside the mouth. It helps in protecting young children and adults from mouth/gum injury and tooth loss while playing sports.
Mouth guards are designed to fit just right and are worn between the upper and lower teeth. To wear a mouth guard, the person has to bite down on it.
This device offers great protection and stability against trauma to the mouth region. It helps in securing the teeth so that they aren’t broken or knocked out of place.
How Does It Work?
On a physics level, a mouth guard is able to weaken the force of a blow or a punch by spreading it over a large area of your mouth instead of letting it focus on one area. Because it prevents all of the energy or force from being compressed into one single area of the mouth, it decreases the child’s risk of severe gum damage or tooth loss.
For example, a mouth guard disperses the energy and speed of a basketball throughout the mouth, which in turn greatly reduces possible injury to the child’s mouth.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are many different types of mouth guards available on the market for adults and children. These three categories are the most commonly available types:
- Premade: This is the most commonly used type of mouth guard. They are also known as preformed mouth guards and are easy to find and quite inexpensive. The downside is that since they come preformed, you cannot adjust them to fit your mouth as tightly as other types.
- Boil-and-Bite: These mouth guards are slightly more customizable than premade or stock mouth guards and offer a better form of protection. Boil-and-bite mouth guards are first inserted into a pot of boiling water. The hot boiling water helps to soften it. It is then inserted carefully into the mouth so it contours and adjusts to the shape of the teeth.
- Custom: These mouth guards are professionally made by dentists and orthodontists to be customized for each individual patient. They cost more than premade and boil-and-bite mouth guards but offer much greater protection against injury as well as greater comfort.
Protecting Your Child’s Mouth from Injury
If you would like a mouth guard for your child, schedule an appointment by contacting the office of Dr. Dan Miller, an experienced and well-regarded cosmetic dentist. You and Dr. Miller can discuss mouth-guard options and decide on the ideal choice.