Most sports injuries involving children and teens involve hard contact, say health experts at John Hopkins University. Parents, you're not surprised, are you? You've been in the ER for an ankle sprain from football, and you worry about concussions from soccer. What about oral injuries? Well, they rank high on the list of sports injuries, too, leading to the question, "Does my child need an athletic mouth guard?" Why not ask your Nashua, NH dentist?
More than broken teeth
Basically, your dentist in Nashua will tell you that yes, your child needs an athletic mouthguard, and it's not just for wrestling, martial arts or football. The American Dental Association (ADA) says that children, teens and adults should wear custom-made mouth guards for other types of physical activities such as biking, lifting weights, gymnastics and running. While we may not think these sports threaten our oral health, they really can.
For instance, children fall off bikes--often face first, fracturing jaws, cutting the lips and tongue and knocking out teeth. Running and weight lifting exert tremendous pressures on the jaw and teeth because children and teens typically clench and grind their teeth while exerting themselves physically. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, may occur over time.
The ADA goes on to say that kids and adults benefit from mouth guards because these appliances:
- Cushion teeth and gums
- Cover teeth (and braces)
- Protect against blows to the mouth and jaw
- Help avoid concussions and other head injuries
Additionally, for younger children who still have many primary teeth, mouth guards protect against premature loss and the misalignment, speech and nutritional problems that often accompany missing baby teeth.
Types of athletic mouth guards
By far the best kind of athletic mouth guard for your child is one he or she wears consistently. So Dr. La Rocque and his caring team urge parents to instill the mouth guard habit early on in a child's development, along with car seats, seat belts and other precautions.
Also, your Nashua dentist asks you to avoid drug store "boil and bite" guards. Typically, they are made from lower quality materials, and because they are a modified one-size-fits-all appliance, fit and durability are not optimal.
Rather, your best bet is a custom-crafted acrylic mouth guard from your dentist. These appliances fit perfectly, feel comfortable and allow your child to breathe freely. We will examine your child's mouth and take careful oral impressions to ensure proper size and fit. He'll also check your child's appliance at his or her semi-annual exam and cleaning appointment.
You and your child can when you protect his or her teeth and gums with a custom-made athletic mouth guard. For more information or to arrange a consultation, contact us in Nashua, NH at (603) 883-6010.