Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Mouthguards & Dental Health For Children

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published July 19, 2019

Ensuring your child has a happy and healthy smile is our top priority at the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa. For our kid patients involved in sports, we encourage parents to make sure their little athletes wear a mouthguard to help prevent dental injuries. 

Who Should Wear a Mouthguard? 

Whether your child is involved in gymnastics or football, we recommend making a mouthguard an essential part of your child’s uniform. The American Dental Association found an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. For our young patients who still have their baby teeth, damaging these delicate teeth can hinder their adult teeth from growing in properly. It’s always good to stay on the safe side and have your child wear a mouthguard while playing any sport. 

How Do Mouthguards Work?

As one of the most effective tools for preventing dental injuries during sports, mouthguards fill the space between the cheeks and gums to act as a shock absorber during an impact. If your child were to suffer a blow to the face, the mouthguard would protect their teeth from the initial impact, helping to avoid broken teeth and prevent their cheek and tongue from injury. Even if your child isn’t involved in a contact sport like wrestling or football, using a mouthguard is a great way to take extra precaution and prevent an emergency trip to the dentist. 

Types of Mouthguards

There are three main types of mouthguards to choose from depending on your child’s needs. The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards fit properly, be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict speech or breathing. Here is a rundown of the ones to choose from. 

  1. Stock mouth protectors are typically inexpensive mouthguards that can be purchased at sporting goods stores like Dicks or Scheels. They come ready to wear, which means there is no room for adjustments or personalization. 
  2. Boil and bite mouth protectors are often a better option to stock mouth protectors because these mouthguards are made from thermoplastic material that is shaped around the teeth to create a customized fit for the individual wearing them. 
  3. Custom-fitted mouth protectors are the best option for mouthguards. Following a consultation with your dentist, an individualized mold will be made based on your needs and required fit. Making these custom mouthguards takes more time and money but they provide the most comfort and the best protection against dental injury. 

We’re Here to Help

At Pediatric Dentistry, our Dentists have been serving the Des Moines and Ankeny for over 50 years. Schedule an appointment to get your child fit with a custom mouth guard to keep their pearly whites safe. If your child is a new patient, please fill out a patient history and consent form prior to your first visit. We look forward to seeing you!

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