Mouth Guards: Why You Need To Safeguard Smiles During School Sports

Mouth guards protect teeth.

The Role of Mouth Guards in Dental Protection

Each year more than 775,000 children aged 14 and younger face sports-related injuries that land them in emergency rooms. So as a parent, how can you safeguard your kid’s smile during school sports? The answer: a mouth guard. Let’s explore why this simple appliance is crucial in shielding your child’s teeth during physical activities.

According to the American Dental Association, 10% to 20% of sports-related injuries are maxillofacial ones. Mouth guards are protective devices that shield teeth, lips, and gums from potential harm. Two main types of mouth guards exist: ready-made and custom-fit. Ready-made options are convenient but don’t offer a good fit, while custom-fit mouth guards, crafted by pediatric dentists, provide superior protection and comfort.

Mouth guards significantly reduce the risk of dental trauma, including tooth loss and soft-tissue damage. Consider a custom-fit mouth guard from your Kearney pediatric dentist for optimal dental protection—a vital step in ensuring your child’s smile remains intact during school sports.

Dental Injuries in School Sports 

Sports bring joy, camaraderie, and physical fitness to children’s lives, but they also come with the risk of dental injuries. Here are some of the most common dental injuries related to school sports:

  • Fractures: These can range from hairline cracks to visible splits that stretch from the top of the tooth to beneath the gumline.
  • Avulsion: This is the term for when a tooth is completely knocked out of its socket.
  • Temporomandibular joint dislocation: A forceful enough impact can dislocate the jaw joint.

Impact of Dental Injuries

Dental injuries not only affect oral health but also overall well-being. Children may experience a reduced quality of life if their injuries affect their appearance, making them hesitant to smile or laugh. Not to mention pain, fractures, and healing time can all hinder food enjoyment and proper dental care, leading to potential health consequences.

Benefits of Using Mouth Guards

Engaging in recreational activities, especially contact sports, exposes children and teens to an increased risk of dental and orofacial injuries. According to the ADA, wearing mouth guards can significantly mitigate this risk.

The ADA strongly recommends using properly fitted mouth guards to reduce the incidence and severity of oral injuries in sports and recreational activities. Here are the key benefits of using mouth guards:

  • Protection for your child’s teeth: A mouth guard acts as a barrier, shielding teeth from impacts that could lead to fractures, dislocations, or tooth loss.
  • Safeguard for restorations: A mouth guard helps protect existing restorations like fillings, crowns, and cosmetic dental bonding.
  • Protection of the soft tissues: A mouth guard also helps shield the lips, tongue, gums, and cheeks from injury during the event of an impact.
  • Prevention of severe injury: They reduce the risk of severe injuries like jaw fractures.
  • Money saved: While mouth guards are an investment, they help parents avoid costly restorative treatment that their children and teens might otherwise need due to sports injuries.

Incorporating a mouth guard into your child’s sports routine protects their smile and ensures a safer experience on the field or court.

Promoting Oral Health and Safety in School Sports

A 10-year study of craniomaxillofacial trauma assessing 3,385 cases revealed a startling statistic: 31.8% of injuries in children occurred during sports activities.

Introducing mandatory protective equipment, such as mouth guards, can significantly reduce these dental and orofacial injuries. Whilesports like high school field hockey, football, ice hockey, and lacrosse require such gear already, others like baseball, basketball, and soccer often lack sufficient injury protection.

Our team at Pediatric Dental Specialists of Kearney hopes to raise awareness about the need for parents, coaches, and schools to prioritize mouth guard use in all sports regardless of current regulations. Collaborative efforts are needed to raise awareness about dental protection in sports and emphasize its role in safeguarding young smiles.

Moreover, instilling good oral care habits from a young age ensures immediate safety and promotes a lifetime of oral health. By recognizing the importance of protecting our children’s smiles, we can create safer, healthier sports environments in the future.

Get your child fitted for a custom mouth guard.

With dental injuries being a prevalent concern, prioritizing mouth guard use is crucial. To ensure your child’s oral safety, consider scheduling an appointment with Pediatric Dental Specialists of Kearney for a custom mouth guard. By taking this proactive step, you will grant your child the confidence to excel on the field while maintaining their healthy, radiant smile.