Are Mouth Guards for Children Recommended?

Child sitting in the dental chairA mouth guard is an excellent way for children to protect their teeth during sports or other risky activities. Children naturally take part in activities that pose a risk of oral injury. It is often important to ensure their teeth are protected by wearing a mouth guard.

Choosing a Mouth Guard for Children

If your child is athletic or enjoys playing outside, then they likely need a mouth guard. That said, do you when they should wear it or what type of mouth guard to get? Here is everything you should know about a children’s mouthguard:

The Importance of Mouth Guards

A child’s mouth guard is a device that is worn to protect the teeth. They are typically only worn during high-risk activities that could potentially lead to a blow to the mouth or increased pressure upon the teeth. Without a mouth guard, children are more vulnerable to having their teeth knocked out, loosening, chipping or cracking.

While some people think baby teeth are not important, they could not be further from the truth. Your child’s teeth help their mouth grow into adulthood. The baby teeth help the future adult teeth grow in at the proper locations. Also, teeth help to shape your child’s face. Multiple missing teeth can alter their appearance.

When Should Children Wear a Mouth Guard?

Children are often much more at risk of suffering an injury to the mouth than adults. In large part, this is because children naturally take part in activities that are more physical. Also, their teeth are not as strong as adult teeth. They cannot withstand strong blows or increased pressure.

A children’s mouth guard should be worn whenever there is a chance of an injury to the mouth. Most commonly, children are required to wear a mouth guard during sports such as the following:

  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Baseball
  • Soccer
  • Basketball

Additionally, the enamel is at risk of being damaged in children who grind their teeth at night. Children with bruxism may need to wear a custom-made mouth guard to prevent the effects of grinding teeth while sleeping.

What Type of Mouth Guard Should Your Child Wear?

The type of mouth guard worn depends largely on the activity and risk of injury to the mouth. Essentially, there are two different types of mouth guards: Custom-made mouth guards and over-the-counter mouth guards.

For sports that carry a low risk of injury to a child’s mouth, an over-the-counter mouth guard may be all that is needed. However, for sports that carry a higher risk of injuries, such as hockey or football, it may be beneficial to have a custom-made mouth guard. This will ensure a proper fit and maximum protection.

Additionally, children who suffer from bruxism should consider having a custom-made mouth guard since they will wear the mouth guard to bed. If the mouth guard does not fit, your child may remove it during sleep. This will leave them susceptible to more damage.

Does Your Child Need a Mouth Guard?

If your child plays sports or grinds their teeth, then you need to protect their smile. Call our office to see how we create mouth guards for children and adults.

Request an appointment or call Integrated Dental Care at (610) 600-9745 for an appointment in our Exton office.

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