Does My Child Need a Mouth Guard?

Does My Child Need a Mouth Guard?

There’s no doubt that participating in sports offers lots of benefits for kids. In addition to the physical benefits — lower body fat, stronger muscles, and a healthier heart — sports participation improves kids’ social skills and reduces their risks of anxiety and depression. 

Unfortunately, sports and other physical activity come with some risk of injury — especially for kids who aren’t properly outfitted. The good news: Today there are plenty of options for sports-specific gear to help keep kids safe. That includes mouth guards — but, data show a lot of kids (and their parents) aren’t using them.

Julie Strauss, DMD, and our team at Strauss Dental in Oregon City, Oregon, understand the injury risks associated with youth sports — and they also understand how wearing a mouth guard can reduce those risks. If your child is playing any type of sport, here’s what we want you to know about the importance of using a mouth guard.

Sports and oral injuries

Nearly 40% of mouth and jaw injuries in kids happen during sports activities. Yet, despite that big number, up to 8 out of 10 youth athletes don’t wear a mouth guard during play or practice.

Not surprisingly, injuries to the teeth, jaws, and soft tissues tend to be more common among high-impact and contact sports, like soccer, football, basketball, and lacrosse. Yet even noncontact sports, like skiing and gymnastics, can cause mouth injuries as the result of a fall or other accident.

Mouth and jaw injuries run the gamut. Some of the most common injuries include:

Mouth and jaw injuries always have the potential for serious complications, but in a child whose bones are still growing, the risk of permanent loss of form or function is a real possibility.

Custom mouth guards for optimal protection

Today, there are lots of mouth guards you can buy “off the shelf” at just about any large drugstore. But while these over-the-counter options might be convenient, they come with significant drawbacks for your child.

First, from a comfort perspective, mouth guards made for the general public aren’t going to fit nearly as comfortably as a guard that’s made specifically for your child. Remember: A mouth guard only works when it’s in our child’s mouth, so choosing one that’s comfortable means it’ll be a lot easier to make sure your child wears it.

Even the “boil-and-bite” models that promise a snug fit just can’t match the level of comfort and ease-of-wear of a custom guard made to fit the contours of your child’s teeth. A custom fit doesn’t just feel more comfortable — it’s also much easier to speak while wearing a guard, and their smaller profile makes them less bulky and less visible, too.

Of course, the main reason for buying a mouth guard is to provide protection, and here, a custom fit also wins out over store-bought guards. Because custom guards closely hug the contours of your child’s teeth, they provide exceptional cushioning and protection compared to one-size-fits-all guards. Our custom guards also use the highest quality materials for additional comfort and protection.

Give your child the protection they need

If you’re still wondering if your child needs a mouth guard, the answer is an emphatic yes. A custom mouth guard designed just for your child provides comfort, protection, and a tremendous amount of peace of mind. 

To learn more about custom mouth guards at Strauss Dental, call 503-656-2139 or book an appointment online with Dr. Strauss today.

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