The Back-to-School Item You Might Forget: The Mouthguard

It’s that time of year again – back to school. Time to buy all your supplies, uniforms, and… mouthguards? Yes, mouthguards are a very important part of your student athlete’s dental and overall physical health. Over 250,000 students will be concussed while they’re participating in sports. High school students and younger have a higher risk of receiving a head injury while playing.

What can you, as a parent, do to help avoid serious injury for your young athlete? A mouthguard is one way to ensure maximum protection. While you could get a stock mouthguard at a sporting goods store, the best protection will come from a custom-fit piece of equipment. For that, you should visit your dentist’s office to get the proper fit for your child. There are a few types of mouthguards that are available.

1.    The first kind is a custom fit mouthguard; this is the type we recommend. These are made personally from the dentist’s office, they will usually be more expensive because they are unique to each patient. Custom mouthguards are universally recommended by several major sports dentists and athletic organizations for their superior fit and ability to prevent injury. Your mouthguard should also be tailored to your sport. You need to be protected in different ways depending on what you’re playing.
2.    The second one is the most popular kind of mouthguard – the boil and bite. These are the ones that are found in most sporting goods or drug stores. With these, you boil them to soften the material and then you bit into them to shape into your mouth. While this is a better option than no mouthguard, the fit isn’t always the most reliable or protective.
3.    Your cheapest option would be the stock mouthguard. These come pre-formed and ready to wear; they usually don’t fit every well and it can make breathing and talking difficult.

After purchasing the correct mouthguard, it’s important to know how to care for it. After games, rinse it thoroughly with soap and water or brush it with a toothpaste. Make sure you are storing it in a clean and dry place between games. When you come visit the office for checkups, make sure that you bring it with you so the dentist can make sure it still fits properly. Teens and children will need replacement more frequently because their mouths are always changing. Once you have the proper fit make sure you are storing it in a clean, safe and dry area. You should have a sturdy container with air holes that is suitable for frequent travel.

The mouthguard has evolved from being that bulky piece of wood and cotton to a comfortable fit that is nearly unnoticeable to the wearer.  It’s amazing that such a small item can do so much. Your child is at risk for head, jaw, and mouth injuries every time they step out on the court or field. Let us help you prevent these injuries by fitting you with the correct mouthguard that fits properly and comfortably. And did you know we can do this all in one day? Our dentists can even customize the colors from every mouth guard to match your team’s colors! Are you ready to make your appointment to get yours fitted? Game on!

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