As experts in pediatric dentistry, we understand that caring for your child’s teeth is of paramount importance. A child’s dental health affects their overall well-being and plays a significant role in their self-esteem and social interactions, especially when they’re engaged in contact sports like Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, or Martial Arts. Sporting events, while promoting physical fitness and teamwork, can inadvertently pose risks to your child’s dental health. This article aims to shed light on the importance of dental care during sporting events and offers valuable insights into safeguarding your child’s teeth in various competitive sports.
The Importance of Using a Mouthguard in Contact Sports
Active children who participate in contact sports often face a higher risk of dental injuries. These injuries can range from chipped or cracked teeth to more severe issues like knocked-out teeth or jaw fractures, making Sports Mouth Guards essential for dental protection. Such injuries lead to physical pain and discomfort, resulting in costly dental treatments and long-term consequences for your child’s oral health.
Protection from Trauma in Competitive Sports
Mouthguards act as a crucial line of defense against dental injuries during competitive sports, such as Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, and Martial Arts. They cushion and protect the teeth and surrounding oral structures, absorbing and dissipating the force of impact. This added layer of protection significantly reduces the risk of fractures, dislodged teeth, and soft tissue injuries in sports-related dental injuries.
Preventing Tooth Loss in Sports
A knocked-out tooth is a painful experience and can lead to permanent tooth loss if not promptly addressed. Sports Mouth Guards are designed to keep teeth in place, preventing them from getting knocked out during accidental collisions or falls in sports like Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, and Martial Arts.
Safeguarding Orthodontic Work in Competitive Sports
If your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, Sports Mouth Guards are essential for safeguarding the investment made in their smile, especially in contact sports. Braces, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances can easily be damaged during competitive sports without proper protection. A mouthguard can help prevent damage to these devices and ensure the kids’ orthodontic treatment progresses as planned.
Types of Mouth Guards for Dental Protection
Now that we understand the importance of mouthguards in various competitive sports, let’s explore the different types available. Each type of mouthguard offers varying degrees of protection, comfort, and durability. Choosing the one that best suits your child’s needs and preferences is essential.
Stock Mouth Guards for Dental Protection
Stock mouthguards are pre-made and come in standard sizes, including adult size. They are readily available at most sporting goods stores and are the most affordable option for dental protection. However, they offer the least protection and comfort since they cannot be customized to fit your child’s mouth. Stock mouthguards may be uncomfortable and hinder proper breathing, which can affect your child’s performance during sports.
Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards for Dental Protection
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are popular with many parents and athletes in competitive sports. They are made from a thermoplastic material that softens when immersed in boiling water. Once softened, your child can bite into the mouthguard, creating a customized fit for their teeth and gums. While these mouthguards offer better protection and comfort than stock ones, they may still require some adjustments to achieve an optimal fit.
Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards for Dental Protection
Custom-fitted mouthguards provide superior protection and comfort, making them ideal for competitive sports like Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, and Martial Arts. These mouthguards are crafted specifically for your child’s mouth by a dentist or a dental laboratory. The process involves taking impressions of your child’s teeth and then fabricating a custom mouthguard tailored to their unique oral anatomy. Custom-fitted mouthguards offer superior cushioning and shock absorption, ensuring maximum protection during sports. They are also less likely to interfere with breathing or speech, making them a top choice for both professional and amateur athletes.
How to Take Care of Your Child’s Custom Mouthguard for Dental Protection
To maximize the lifespan and effectiveness of your child’s custom mouthguard, it’s essential to maintain proper hygiene and care. Neglecting to do so can lead to bacterial growth, unpleasant odors, and a reduction in protection. Here are some essential tips on how to take care of your child’s custom mouthguard:
After each use in competitive sports, rinse the mouthguard with cold water to remove saliva and debris. Avoid using hot water, as it can deform the mouthguard.
Use a soft toothbrush and mild soap or mouthwash to clean the mouthguard. Avoid abrasive toothpaste or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the material.
Allow the mouthguard to air dry completely before storing it. Moisture can promote bacterial growth.
Store the mouthguard in a well-ventilated container or case with vents to protect it from dust and bacteria when not in use. Avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or hot environments, as extreme temperatures can distort the mouthguard’s shape.
Periodically inspect the mouthguard for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or tears. If you notice any damage, replace the mouthguard promptly.
Emphasize to your child that their custom mouthguard is for dental protection, not for chewing or playing during sports or other activities. Chewing on the mouthguard can weaken it and reduce its effectiveness.
Keep It Away from Pets
Pets can be attracted to the scent of a mouthguard, so be sure to keep it out of their reach when not in use.
Following these care guidelines ensures that your child’s custom mouthguard remains clean, odor-free, and in good condition, providing reliable dental protection during competitive sports.
The Risk of Sports-Related Dental Injuries
Despite all precautions, sports-related dental injuries can still occur during competitive sports like Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, and Martial Arts. It’s crucial to be prepared for such situations and know how to respond promptly. Here are some common sports-related dental injuries your child may encounter while participating in competitive sports:
Broken Teeth and Dental Warranty
Impact on the face or mouth can result in broken teeth. In such cases, contact your pediatric dentist immediately for evaluation and treatment. It’s essential to discuss dental warranty options with your dentist for any previous dental work.
Orofacial Injury in Competitive Sports
A forceful impact in competitive sports can lead to orofacial injuries, including fractures. Stabilize the injured area and seek immediate medical attention. A custom mouthguard can help reduce the risk of such injuries.
Lost Filling or Crown During Competitive Sports
If your child has a dental restoration (filling or crown) and it becomes dislodged during competitive sports, keep the restoration if possible, and contact your dentist for guidance on repairing or replacing it.
Persistent Toothache in Competitive Sports
A persistent toothache or dental pain may be a sign of an underlying issue, such as tooth decay or infection. Promptly consult a pediatric dentist to identify and address the cause of the pain.
Orthodontic Emergencies in Competitive Sports
If your child wears braces or other orthodontic appliances and experiences an emergency, such as a loose wire or bracket, during competitive sports, contact the orthodontist for guidance.
These Snack Foods Are Worse for Your Little Ones Teeth Than Candy
When considering foods that can harm our teeth, candy often takes the top spot in our minds. Cavities are primarily caused by bacteria in the mouth producing enamel-damaging acids, with these bacteria thriving on the sugars found in many of our daily snacks, candy being a glaring culprit. However, it’s crucial to recognize that other foods can be equally detrimental to dental health, if not worse.
Chips and crackers are sometimes seen as a healthier alternative to sweets, leading people to overlook their potential negative impact on teeth. Sadly, starchy foods like potato chips and crackers can be just as problematic. These snacks become soft or sticky during chewing and can stubbornly linger in between teeth long after consumption. Though they may not taste sweet, the enzymes in our mouths break down the starches in these snacks into sugars.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that starchy foods may even surpass candy in their potential harm to teeth due to their prolonged presence on dental surfaces. Shockingly, a national survey conducted by the AAPD found that 96% of U.S. adults with children believed that a cracker was less harmful to teeth than a piece of caramel. However, the AAPD clarifies that starches can indeed contribute to cavities, emphasizing that “a cracker may be more figure-friendly, but it is not a teeth-friendly snack.”
Opting for healthier alternatives like apple slices or celery can provide the satisfying crunch of chips or crackers without the dental drawbacks. Adding a touch of protein-rich peanut butter can enhance the flavor for picky eaters. Remember to brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes to maintain optimal oral health regardless of your snack choice. For more information on snacks and foods that impact dental health, visit our Kids Healthy Teeth blog, where Dr. Elizabeth Chen and her pediatric staff share the latest insights.
Secure Your Child’s Bright Smile in Competitive Sports Today!
Kids Healthy Teeth is dedicated to your child’s dental well-being, especially when engaging in competitive sports like Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Water Polo, Muay Thai, and Martial Arts. Our mission centers around educating young minds, preventing dental issues, and nurturing a strong dentist-patient bond, even in the realm of competitive sports.
Contact Our Katy Orthodontics Office For Free Consultation
Dr. Elizabeth Chen is a board-certified pediatric dentist who believes that when kids have positive experiences with their pediatric dentist, they forge lifelong connections with oral healthcare providers, ensuring a lifetime of confident and healthy teeth, even during competitive sports. Schedule an appointment with us today and embark on a journey toward a lifetime of confident and healthy teeth for your child, whether they’re on the field or off. Don’t wait; secure your child’s bright smile in competitive sports now! Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body, is our motto!
For more information on Sports Mouth Guards and dental protection during competitive sports, visit our Mouth Healthy blog. We’re here to ensure your child’s smile shines on and off the field!