Why Does My Child Need To Wear A Sports Guard?
It’s the month of back to school, and along with new uniforms, swimming and PE kits you have been asked to purchase a sports guard for your child to return to school with, and you may be asking yourself why does my child need to wear a sports guard? In this blog we are going to look at the different types of sports guards you can buy, exactly why your child DOES need to wear a sports guard and the best way to take care of one.
A sports guard is quite simply a piece of rubber-like material that is worn over the teeth during sports activities. When you start shopping around for a guard you may find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed with the great choice of products, and also by the varying cost. Dentists and orthodontists alike only really recommend two styles of sports guard.
The first being a ‘boil and bite mouth guard’, a mouldable guard you simply pop in hot water and mould around the teeth by placing it in the mouth and sucking/pushing the guard into place. The second is a bespoke sports guard made by your dentist or orthodontist specifically for your child. To make the guard your orthodontist will take accurate impressions of the teeth and send them to the lab to be turned into a guard, children who wear permanent braces may be advised to use two guards, one for the top and lower set of teeth. For a sports guard to work most effectively it needs to fit well, a good fitting sports guard shouldn’t slip or interfere with breathing and speech.
A common misconception is that sports guards only need to be worn during high contact sports like boxing, rugby and hockey, but the reality is that most facial injuries children experience while playing sports are to the mouth. Some sports require other safety equipment to be worn to protect other parts of the body, so it makes sense to use a sports guard during this time too. We’d advise that your child also wear their guard during activities like skateboarding, gymnastics, football and bike riding.
Wearing a guard during any sport that could cause an impact to the face will help to protect your child from injuries to their teeth and mouth. Potential injuries to teeth can include, chipping and breaking, nerve damage, damaged roots and tooth loss. But it’s not just their teeth that are in danger. Injuries to the mouth can include lip, tongue, soft tissue and jaw damage which sometimes includes fractures and concussion. If your child wears fixed braces, it’s especially important that they wear a sports guard during all sporting activities as the risk of breaking their braces and causing lots of damage to their lips and soft tissue is quite high. If your child wears removable braces like Invisalign, it’s important they remove them before taking part in sports.
Once you have chosen the perfect sports guard for your child and they begin using it, you need to learn how to take care of it so you don’t have to keep purchasing them. After each use, wash the sports guard with warm water, toothpaste and a toothbrush. Store it in its container, and keep it somewhere cool to avoid the material from warping in hot conditions. Check your sports guard regularly for signs of wear and tear to make sure it’s still capable of protecting your Childs mouth from injury.