The Importance of Mouthguards:
We make sure kids and teens pile on the shin guards, pads and helmets when they play sports, but what about protecting their teeth and jaws? A mouthguard is an important piece of safety equipment, and it can go a long way in preventing dental injuries. While mouthguard use is on the rise, it's overlooked in some sports. As a Tuscaloosa Orthodontist, we see more dental trauma from baseball, basketball and soccer, none of which typically require mouthguards. In cases where it is not mandatory, McKinney Orthodontics recommends parents take it upon themselves to make sure their child or teen wears one. We know they look a little awkward, but do you know what looks more awkward? Missing teeth! According to the American Dental Association, studies show athletes are 60 times more likely to experience harm to their teeth if they forgot a mouthguard. Preserve your child's smile (and your own if you're playing sports) and get on the mouthguard bus!
What Type of Young Athletes Should Wear a Mouthguard?
If your kid is involved in contact sports, like boxing, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, or field hockey, mouthguard use is probably established. However, injuries occur in a wide range of athletic endeavors (we're looking at you basketball!) and even non-contact activities likes skateboarding. The American Dental Association recommends using a mouthguard for the following sports:
If your child or teen has braces or another fixed orthodontic appliance, a mouthguard is even more of a must. Getting hit in the mouth while wearing braces is no fun, and you also have to contend with the risk of broken brackets. However, if you're participating in any activity that could result in trauma to the mouth, braces or no braces, adult or child, using a mouthguard is a solid decision.
Why Are Mouthguards Important?!
Mouthguards protect you from traumatic jaw and dental injuries. A mouthguard shields against chipped, broken and missing teeth, root fractures and luxation (when the tooth is still in the socket but in the wrong position). In addition, it acts as a cushion between the teeth and/or braces and soft tissue in your mouth, like your tongue, lips and cheeks, to ward off cuts and bruises that can come from contact. It also helps to dissipate the force from blows that can lead to jaw fractures and other injuries. PLUS, it keeps those orthodontic appliances safe!
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