Protect your head, eyes, face – oops, don’t forget your mouth!

By Paige Ensor

Spring sports are in full swing. Children are outfitted with batting helmets, shin guards, chest protectors, all the gear necessary for their sport(s) of choice but what about protecting their smiles? We typically associate the use of mouth guards as a necessity for full contact sports such as football or ice hockey but, April is National Facial Protection Month and dental experts at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD), and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) are reminding athletes and recreational sports players to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth for all sports.

Mouth guards can help prevent serious, painful facial injuries that affect the mouth and teeth. Their cost is a fraction of what emergency care of a broken or knocked out tooth would be.

As professionals, we urge parents, caregivers, athletes, and coaches to be proactive about staying safe by using a mouth guard during every practice and every game. Wearing a mouth guard should be second nature; it should be comfortable to wear and easy to speak. Mouth guards cannot protect teeth and jaws if they are not worn.

Mouth guards come in three types:

  1. Stock mouth guards –pre-formed; may offer a bulky fit
  2. Boil and bite guards – softened in boiling water and then inserted to adapt to the shape of the mouth
  3. Custom-fitted – by your dentist or orthodontist especially for your mouth

A properly fitted mouth guard can significantly reduce initial injury and lessen the severity of that injury. This is especially important for athletes who wear braces or other orthodontic devices.

Only your dentist or orthodontist can determine the perfect fit and provide the answers necessary to best protect your child’s teeth, gums and jaw when they take to the sports fields this season.

Talk to us about selecting a mouth guard that will provide the best mouth protection and most comfortable fit. If there are signs of wear, it should be replaced. Teens and children need to replace their mouth guards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.

Contact the professionals at EJL Dental with your mouth guard questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment for a custom fitting: http://www.ejldental.com/sports-mouthguards

Mouth Guard Resources

http://www.orthodonticproductsonline.com/2016/04/aao-ada-urge-sports-players-use-mouth-guards/

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/april-is-national-facial-protection-month-2114745.htm

http://dentalpatientnews.com/april-is-national-facial-protection-month/#sthash.AJzJ3GRO.dpbswww.mychildrensteeth.org/assets/2/7/P_Sports.pdf