Sports play a big role in many teenager’s lives. However, it is all too common that along with recreational activities comes the likelihood that injury will follow. While minor aches and pains like sprained ankles and pulled hamstrings can occur during a game, the good news is that – in time – they can heal.
But, what happens when your teen breaks a tooth as a result of a sports injury? Obviously, teeth do not heal or regenerate, no matter how much time has passed. So, what options do parents have to help their child prevent such an injury? The answer is simple: Get them a mouthguard.
Every year, countless teenagers get hurt while playing sports or while involved in other recreational activities. During these times, they stand a chance of getting hit in the face which can injure their tongue, lips, cheeks, and, of course, their teeth. However, with proper protection, these wounds can be avoided.
Protective Gear You Can Count On
A properly fitted mouthguard is an important piece of protective gear that can provide a good defense for your teen’s smile. While it may be obvious that mouthguards are necessary for contact sports like football, boxing, and ice hockey, what may surprise you is the necessity to wear one during low-contact or non-contact activities like soccer, gymnastics, and rollerblading. With activities like these, dentists recommend wearing a mouthguard no matter how much, or how little, contact is involved.
If there is the chance of a fall, a collision, or facial impact of any sort, it is always best to be prepared – even if that means wearing tooth protection.
Types of Mouthguards
With the different sports, activities, and mouth guard options, you may wonder what kind to get your teenager to protect their teeth. Mouthguards come in three different varieties:
- stock (ready-made)
- mouth-formed (boil and bite)
- custom (made specifically for your child’s mouth).
While all three offer ample mouth protection, they are definitely different when it comes to price and the way they feel when in use. Important things to look for are resiliency, resistance to tearing, and comfort. As well, a good mouthguard should fit well, be durable, and clean easily, all while not interfering with your teen’s breathing and speech. In most cases, a mouthguard will cover the top teeth, while in special cases it can also sit on the bottom teeth. Your child’s dentist will suggest the right guard depending on their particular recreational activity and overall needs.
Once you’ve invested in a good protective mouthguard, here’s how your teen should care for it to ensure that it lasts more than a few rounds on the field or in their mouth:
Rinse the mouthguard with an antiseptic mouth rinse or cold water before and after each use. Another way to clean it is with toothpaste and a toothbrush. After every cleaning, always dry the guard.
While not using it, store the mouth guard in a sturdy container to protect it from damage. Also, be sure the case has perforation for airflow which helps prevent bacterial build-up.
In order to prevent distortion, keep the guard away from high temperatures found in hot water, under direct sunlight, and on hot surfaces.
Periodically, check for holes, tears, and improper fit as these things can irritate the mouth and lessen protection.
Examine it regularly:
Bring the mouthguard to regular dental appointments and the dentist will examine it to check for any issues.
Whether playing a pick-up game of basketball or flaunting a triple front handspring, teens who are active run the risk of getting hurt. Wearing a supportive, durable, fitted mouthguard is one of the best defenses in avoiding injury that leads to a cracked tooth.