The fall youth sports season is upon us, and so begins the friendly competition and camaraderie. With that also comes the commuting to and from practices, games, and tournaments. For most of us, using a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car has become second nature. Often times, buckling up may even seem involuntary. And while we’re sure all of you have taught your child to always wear their seatbelt, could you be doing more to protect them from injury?

Using a mouth guard is the single most effective way to avoid dental injuries while participating in contact sports. Research from the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety (NYSFS) states that dental injuries are the most common of all sports related injuries. The NYSFS also shares that a player is 60 times more likely to sustain a dental injury while not using a mouth guard. It is estimated that by simply using a mouth guard during both practices and games, one could prevent around 200,000 dental injuries per year. Luckily, there is an affordable and convenient way to prevent these types of injuries from happening.

Aside from the obvious protection that a mouth guard offers for their teeth, it can also help to protect your child’s lips, tongue, cheeks and even help to prevent concussions and jaw fractures.

The best way to guarantee that your child is happy in their new mouth guard is to ensure that the mouth guard fits properly. Some key characteristics of a good mouth guard include, comfort, easy to clean, doesn’t restrict breathing or speech for the athlete, is tear resistant and lastly, stays in place easily.

Most mouth guards will fall into one of three categories: stock, boil & bite, and custom fit. Stock mouth guards are ready to use out of the package and are the most affordable of the options. Boil and bite mouth guards allow for a slightly more customizable fit, which in turn makes this option more comfortable for your child. Lastly, custom fit mouth guards are individually designed and made in a dental office or professional laboratory. These are made based off of molds taken by your dentist. While these are the most expensive of the options provided, they are also the most comfortable and effective in protecting your child’s teeth.

The stock and boil & bite options can be picked up conveniently at your local sporting goods store. If you are interested in having your child fitted for a custom fit mouth guard, contact our pediatric dental care practice and take the necessary precautions towards protecting your child’s smile.