Sports and other active pastimes help to keep kids fit and healthy, but some activities can put their teeth and jaws at risk of serious injury if they're not protected.
A sports mouthguard offers vital protection against painful or disfiguring dental injuries and can mean avoiding the greater cost of corrective treatments or surgery.
Your dentist can give you advice about choosing the best sports mouthguard to help your child enjoy an active lifestyle safely.
When do you need a mouthguard?
Mouthguards are recommended (and now enforced in many schools and sporting clubs) when taking part in sports that carry a risk of injury to the mouth or jaw.
This not only concerns contact sports such as rugby and boxing, but any other activities that involve a risk of impacts to the mouth from balls, equipment, other players or falls.
These can lead to dental emergencies ranging from cut lips and tongues to chipped, cracked or knocked-out teeth and broken jaws.
A well-fitted mouthguard provides a cushioning barrier for teeth that absorbs some of the impact to prevent serious injuries or reduce the severity.
What are the different types of mouthguards?
There are three common types of mouthguards: stock mouthguards and 'boil-and-bite' mouthguards, which are available from sports stores, and custom-fitted mouthguards, which can only be provided by dentists.
- Stock mouthguards are the cheapest option and come in standard shapes and sizes. These are likely to be poorly fitting and provide the least protection for kids' teeth.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards are made of malleable plastic that can be placed in warm water and moulded to fit your child's bite. While these provide more protection than stock mouthguards, the mouthguard may be thin and uneven.
- Custom mouthguards are specially made by dentists and dental technicians based on moulds or digital impressions of your child's teeth. They offer the most protection and the most comfortable fit.
Why should I choose a custom-made mouthguard?
No child's bite is identical, and if you want to ensure the best possible protection for your child's teeth, custom-fitted mouthguards are recommended by organisations such as the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Sports Medicine Australia.
A custom mouthguard made from thick, protective material that perfectly fits a child's mouth not only lowers their risk of serious injuries, but can also feel more comfortable to wear. This can be especially important if your child has any protruding or misaligned teeth that may not fit a standard mouthguard.
Unlike poorly-fitted store mouthguards, custom mouthguards also don't restrict a child's ability to speak or breathe, which can impact on their performance. They can also be designed to be worn with braces and are less likely to come loose in impacts and block the airway.
Book a mouthguard fitting in Bracken Ridge
If your child needs their first sports mouthguard or a replacement, make an appointment with our experienced dentists at Bracken Ridge Dental to find out more about your options and schedule your custom fitting.