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Sports Safety--All About Mouthguards

September 6, 2019

 

If your child is involved in sports, you've probably heard about mouthguards. From boxing to football to hockey, mouthguards are an important line of defense against injuries to your child's teeth. This guide will help you understand more about mouthguards, how to care for them and which activities might require them.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards are a simple and inexpensive way to prevent dental injuries while playing sports according to Murfreesboro Family Dentistry. Made of a flexible material, the devices fit around the patient's upper teeth, preventing them from damaging the lower teeth, tongue or soft tissues of the mouth. Mouthguards can protect against broken teeth and lacerations to the cheek or tongue that may be caused by sudden biting during sports. They also offer some protection against jaw dislocation and fracture. Although some parents believe that mouthguards are only needed for specific contact sports like football, this is a common myth. Doctors have noted that mouthguards are important even for noncontact sports like swimming. Swimmers are at a high risk of chipped or broken teeth if they hit the wall of the pool too fast during a turn. Always ask your child's doctor about whether he or she needs a mouthguard for a specific sport.

Mouthguards and Baseball

A recent survey revealed that only seven percent of baseball players currently wear mouthguards. Mouthguards are especially important for youth baseball. Many beginning and intermediate level baseball players forget to let go of the bat after they hit the ball, and they might also hold onto the bat too loosely. Both of these scenarios could cause mouth injuries to the batter and to those nearby. In addition, many youth baseball pitchers make throwing errors that could increase the risk of a player being hit in the face by the baseball, and young players tend to swing at pitches that are well outside of the strike zone, increasing the chance of an injury. Given the higher risks of injury associated with youth baseball players (most of whom are still learning the sport), wearing mouthguards during practice and games is especially important.

Proper Care

Taking proper care of a mouthguard will provide maximum protection to the mouth and reduce the risk of tooth breakage, damage and loss. Colgate recommends brushing and rinsing the mouthguard after each use. If toothpaste isn't available, rinsing with water can be effective. The mouthguard should also be rinsed regularly with soapy, cool water. Never leave a mouthguard in hot water or in direct sunlight. To prevent bacteria growth, store mouthguards in specialized cases that are vented. These cases will keep the mouthguard dry. Always keep the mouthguard away from pets to avoid loss. If a mouthguard becomes uncomfortable or shows signs of wear, see a dentist so that appropriate adjustments can be made.

 

Mouthguards are an important injury prevention tool for all athletes. With proper fitting and care, they can be a comfortable way to protect the teeth and provide parents and athletes with peace of mind. Always check with your child's pediatrician or dentist for personalized advice about mouthguard choices.

 

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