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Guest Blog: Mouthguards, Sports and Kids: Protect their Teeth

About the author: Dr Angelos Alvanos D.M.D., M.S.Ortho. (St Louis, USA), is practice principal at Hampstead Orthodontic Practice. In his guest blog post he writes for coaches about the importance of mouthguards for children in sport.

Kids and team sports are a great combination. Any chance to get the little one’s outside in the fresh air, running around with their friends and learning key relationship building skills is vital to any child’s growth. When it comes to their activity of choice though, it can be hard for the adults in charge, not just their parents, to feel 100% happy with sports such as rugby, hockey, American football, etc. when they’re running hell for leather on astro-turf, tackling their teammates to the floor or firing hard objects at each other. Rather than object to them participating, or excluding the aspects of the sport that are deemed dangerous (like the tackling ban doctors pushed for last year), protect them.

What is a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards are a small, relatively inexpensive way to make sure that kids can play their favourite sports with their team mates, and not get their teeth knocked out in the meantime. Made of an odourless non-toxic polymer, the mouthguard is designed to fit their exact bite and protect their teeth from impact and injury whilst in play.

The most common types of injury in contact sports range from broken teeth, knocked out teeth, punctured mouth interior, tongue and gum damage, etc. All of which can be protected by their mouthguard.

Why Kids Should Use Mouthguards

If kids don’t use their mouthguards and they get caught in the mouth by a foul ball, a rogue hockey puck or by one of their teammates appendages, their teeth can take a beating and it could end up costing their parent’s a lot more to get these problems repaired in the long run. The England Rugby Union has even made it compulsory for all school team players involved in rugby to wear one. It’s also been found that failing to protect children’s teeth could cause confidence issues and speech impediments for them later on in life. Protection is prevention.

Where Can You Get a Mouthguard?

A reputable orthodontist or trusted family dentist is the best person to talk to when considering a mouthguard for children. They will have to meet with their dental professional, have their mouth’s measurements taken and walked through the maintenance and cleaning of the mouthguard. Children will have to have more than one mouthguard fitted in their sporting career, down to the fact their mouths are still developing. This is why using professionally measured and fitted mouthguards are recommended, to ensure that their teeth won’t be damaged by incorrect sizing and inadequate impact absorption.

Keep Everyone Happy

By making sure that your junior sports team has the right protection for their given sport, you’ll make sure that they are safer on the pitch, and you are happier watching them from the side-lines. It is a simple task to get them fitted with their first mouthguard; simply alert their parents, get them to call up their orthodontist or trusted dental professional, and get them to take their child in to get their measurements taken and a run-down on how to properly care for their mouthguard. This way, you will have a safer and happier team, and less worried parents. A win-win for all.

Dr Angelos Alvanos D.M.D., M.S.Ortho, Principal Orthodontist, Hampstead Orthodontic Practice