The importance of mouthguards:
To protect the mouth and teeth from serious injury, a mouthguard, usually a flexible piece of plastic that fits into the mouth, should be worn during all recreational and athletic activities - especially activities where there is contact or potential contact with another person, piece of equipment, or the ground. In particular, mouthguards should be worn during the following sports:
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Martial arts
Some of these sports require the use of a mouthguard at the amateur level.
Many recreational activities such as skateboarding and bicycling also pose a risk of injuring the mouth and teeth. Exercise caution during these activities.
Mouthguards and preventable injuries:
Injuries to the teeth, mouth, and head may include the following, many of which could be prevented with proper and consistent use of a mouthguard:
- Dislodged or knocked out tooth/teeth
- Broken or chipped tooth
- Bitten or lacerated tongue and/or lip
- Objects caught/lodged between the teeth
- Jaw fracture
- Neck injury
- Jaw collision - the upper jaw gets jammed into the lower jaw
Types of mouthguards:
There are several types of mouthguards that can be used. The following are two of the most common types:
- Pre-made mouthguards - One type is already made and can be found in most sport stores. There are different types and brands. Choose the one that fits best and is most comfortable.
- Custom-made mouthguards - Your child's dentist can make a mouthguard specifically for your child. These may be more expensive, but usually are more comfortable for the child.
Consult your child's dentist regarding the best type of mouthguard to use.