4 Things Parents Need To Know About Mouthguards

Dental injuries are very common among children. By the time they finish high school, a third of boys and a quarter of girls will have suffered from a dental injury. Many of these injuries happen during sports such as football or hockey, but they can be prevented with mouthguards. Here's what you need to know about them. 

Is there more than one type of mouthguard?

There are three main types of mouthguards. The most basic type are stock mouthguards. These are widely available and inexpensive, but are not customizable to your child's mouth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are also available. These are softened in boiling water and then molded to your child's teeth. Custom made mouthguards are the final option, and are designed by your child's dentist.

Are some mouthguards better than others?

Not all mouthguards are created equal. Stock mouthguards are fairly useless since they can't be customized to your child's mouth. Not only do they not protect the teeth well, but they don't stay in place, and can either fall out of the mouth or even slip backwards and block the airway. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are a bit better since they can be shaped to fit your child's teeth, but they can still slip out of place and don't protect the molars very well. If you can afford it, custom made mouthguards are the best option. They are designed to fit your child's teeth perfectly, and can even be designed for the specific sport that they'll be participating in.

Can kids with braces wear mouthguards?

Kids with braces can wear mouthguards, and should wear them, but braces make it harder for you to find mouthguards that fit properly. Many types of stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are designed to fit over teeth, not over braces. Some mouthguards are designed a bit larger to allow them to fit over braces, but this can cause the mouthguard to be loose around the teeth and not stay in place properly. If your child has braces, it's important that you get them a custom made mouthguard that fits over their braces.

How often do kids need new mouthguards?

Mouthguards need to be replaced when they no longer fit your child's teeth properly; this happens quickly, either from tooth loss or from their teeth being moved by braces. Have your dentist check the fit of your child's mouthguard periodically to make sure that it's still offering adequate protection.

Mouthguards are very important, but they need to fit properly to be effective. Talk to your dentist like one from Access Dental about getting your child a custom fitted mouthguard to keep their teeth safe during their favorite sports.