When it comes to child participation in various sports, mouthguards are a standard and expected part of the process. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that kids wear mouthguards for numerous sports, from popular ones like basketball, football, hockey and lacrosse to others like martial arts, rugby, skateboarding and many more.
At Damage Control Mouthguards, we're happy to provide custom mouthguards for numerous sports, including a variety specifically designed for kids across their most popular sports and activities. We're also here to inform parents of the significant risks associated with allowing your child to play in these sports without a mouthguard protecting them – risks that lead to exponentially greater chances of damage to the teeth, jaw and related head areas. Here are some specifics on these risks and how a mouthguard helps avoid them.
Broken or Cracked Teeth
Perhaps the single largest risk that's heightened by playing competitive sports without a mouthguard: The potential loss or damage of teeth. Even if the sport in question isn't considered a "contact" sport, it may still involve some impact risks – including those to the face or mouth. If hit hard enough, child teeth are still brittle enough that they come with significant risks of cracking or breaking off entirely.
A mouthguard, however, stops this from happening by cushioning the teeth. While it won't be able to stop the impact, it will provide support to the teeth and jaw when this happens, keeping teeth intact in the mouth.
Another significant risk of sports without a mouthguard for kids is concussion, which is especially risky for younger children while the brain is still developing. A big chunk of what contributes to a concussion is the vibration that takes place throughout the head and jaw area during a collision – because a mouthguard limits this impact and protects the teeth, mouthguards are known to reduce concussion risk during sports.
The jaw itself also takes plenty of shock during sports, especially contact ones. Again, though, a mouthguard cushions this part of the mouth, reducing the full shock absorption on both the upper and lower jaw. You might be surprised just how much pressure that small piece of rubber can absorb on your child's behalf – their long-term jaw health will be greatly benefitted here, especially if there have been any jaw injuries or issues in the past.
Finally, the teeth themselves turn quickly from assets to enemies if your child isn't wearing a mouthguard. During impact situations in such cases, the teeth can do major damage to the cheeks, lips or even tongue when kids don't have enough time to prepare themselves for the contact; a mouthguard, though, covers the teeth and completely removes this risk as long as it's worn properly.
For more on the risks of letting your child play sports without a mouthguard, or to learn about any of our custom mouthguard products or services, speak to the staff at Damage Control Mouthguards today.