Back in elementary school, I was an ardent field hockey fan. I loved the game so much that at the age of 9 I was in the junior school team. Field hockey was considered risky back then. People dreaded it but I really found it very enthralling. As an adrenaline junkie I found it very pleasurable to play around with the hockey ball at very frightening speeds. Fast forward to 11 and I had a terrible in-game accident that cost me five teeth. To date, I regret not having listened to my coach on protective measures while playing sports and I am writing this to enlighten other parents on the protective measures to take if your child participates in sports.
We all know that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, right? Well, sports are an essential part of growth and development of any kid. The same sports can pose as a great threat to your kids because of injuries. It is important to remember and appreciate that in all sports, there is a risk of injuring a child’s face and mouth while playing. Teeth especially are susceptible to injury and over 34% of all sports related injuries reported in children under the age of 14 are all associated with teeth. With proper precaution however, most of these injuries can be avoided.
The suspect sports
Although almost every sport can bring about teeth injuries, there are those suspect sports that require extra care. Ball games like football, tennis, field hockey, rugby, basketball, baseball and netball are some of the most common injury prone sports. You will never know when the ball will stray into your mouth and knock down a few teeth from your mouth just like my case. You never know when a wild baseball swing will land the bat or club will land on your mouth and cut your lip or knock out a tooth or two. You never know when a teammate will elbow you right in the mouth and leave you terribly shaken. It is therefore important to take precautionary measures to ensure that your kid is safe from injuries. So, what should you do as a parent to protect your child when he/she is engaging in these sports?
Keeping your child’s teeth safe during sports
The most obvious choice is to invest in a mouth guard. Mouth guards are soft plastic appliances moulded in the shape of teeth that are used to protect teeth from injury during sports. They not only protect the teeth but cover the lips as well. In cases of impacts, the guards protect the vital organs and reduce the risk of injury.
Depending on your budget and the sport that your kid is playing, there are 3 main types of mouth guards available for you in the market.These are;
Stock mouth protectors
These are the most common form of protection used among children engaging in contact sports. They are preformed and come ready to wear. They are very cheap and just generally offer limited protection to the teeth. They are bulky and can hinder proper breathing when you are running. They are a viable option but they are not recommended by kids dentists.
Boil and bite mouth protectors
The other option worth looking at are the boil and bite guards. The boil and bite mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material which is softened by hot water. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using your tongue and fingers. They are cheap as well and are far better than the stock mouth protectors because they take the shape of your teeth and hence offer better fit.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors
These are the guards that most dentists recommend and even professionals use them. As the name suggest, they are custom made to fit the mouth and teeth of the prospective users. When making these protectors, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and a mouth guard is then moulded over the model using a special material. The final product is a well-fitting mouth guard that offers flexibility and room for breathing. They are very effective but can be quite expensive.
Remember, an effective mouth guard should not affect your child’s performance in the game. Choose a mouth guard that is comfortable, resists easy tears, is easy to clean, does not affect the breathing and above all, protects your child from injuries.
Besides mouth guards, it is advisable to use helmets and avoid playing without one if the sport requires that you do. Sports like rugby, ice hockey, cricket, baseball and others that require the use of a helmet, should never be played without one.
Advise your child to use the mouth guard when taking part in other leisure activities like skateboarding and biking. There have been a number of cases arising from skateboarding and mountain biking. Educate you child on how to properly use, clean and store the mouth guard, for his/her own good. Don’t let the fear of injuries get in the way of your child’s dreams, protect/him her today.
Visit your Family dentist or orthodontist for more information on the same. Here You can also ask with our experienced dentist in Katy. Just by Call at +1-713-766-1208