A mouth guard protects the teeth and other areas of the face from impact during sport activities, distributing force evenly throughout the entire mouth. Mouth guards can prevent a variety of head injuries, including broken jaws and concussions. It is estimated that more than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, and 13-39% of dental injuries are sports related. If this does not convince you and your kids to wear a mouth guard, think about the approximate $500 million spent to replace those teeth each year.
How serious are mouth injuries?
Mouth injuries are very serious for different reasons: in addition to being extremely painful, mouth injuries can be hard to treat. Jaw and joint injuries may require surgery and, if the condition is severe enough, the patient may be hospitalized and the jaw wired shut for around 30 days in order to properly heal. Lost or broken teeth can be as painful as a broken jaw.
Mouth guards in general will help you to prevent injury to the mouth, teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. Mouth guards should be worn in sports such as:
- Discus throwing
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Material arts
- And many others
Sports-related injuries currently account for 3 times more facial or dental injuries than violence or traffic accidents. Since it became a requirement in high school and college football to wear a mouth guard during practice sessions and in competition, mouth injuries dropped from around 50% to less than o.6%.
Why do kids do wear mouth guards?
The parents may be uninformed about the level of injuries in the sports that their kids play. There may be no enforcement from the schools. Another consideration may be cost or even uninformed coaches who are not aware of the importance of mouth guards.
Different Types of Mouth Guards
- Stock Mouth Guard
These guards come in three sizes, small, medium and large. It is possible since these guards are stock that the fit may be a concern. These guards can be bulky and make breathing and talking difficult. Because your mouth needs to be closed in order to hold them into place.
- Boil and Bite
Hot water is used to soften the plastic this takes only up to 45 seconds, transferred to cold water and your child, or you, can bite into the guard modeling the guard, to his or her teeth. This type of guard is widely used by athletes. If the fit is not comfortable the first time these guards can be reheated and refitted. Replace frequently.
- Custom Mouth Guards
These mouth guards are custom made by your dentist for your mouth. They may have the best fit, comfort and protection because they are custom made for you. However, your child is still growing it is important to understand that the dentist not only evaluate your child for his or her sport activity but also to check if the custom made mouth guard is fitting well over time. Your child may need a replacement ever so often over time.
Remember, any mouth guard is better than having none. It is important to understand that a mouth guard needs to be replaced if there is any abrasion within your mouth or the guard is not fitting as well. The mouth guard should be replaced as soon as it becomes distorted.
Cleaning Mouth Guards
You may clean you guard with soap or any denture cleaner or use tooth paste. Clean after each use to eliminate bacteria growth and thereby eliminate bad odor.