What if your child suddenly lost his teeth? Smiling, talking, eating—everything would be affected! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry surveys confirm that as much as 39 percent of all dental injuries in children are caused by direct hits with a hard object, such as a puck or ball or stick in player-to-player contact.
While high contact sports, such as MMA or Rugby have a higher risk of dental injury, the unexpected ones, such as gymnastics and cheerleading also pose a considerable risk.
Mouthguards, also called gum shields, help cushion a blow to the mouth, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your child’s lips, tongue, face or jaw. When it comes to protecting the mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of gear that should be a part of standard athletic equipment from an early age.
So, should every athlete wear a mouthguard?
In its handout, “Protecting Teeth with Mouthguards,” the American Dental Association states that, “an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard.” Which brings us to our next question:
Which mouthguard is the best?
There are three types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards – these may be purchased at drug stores, at sporting goods stores and online. Prices typically range from less than a dollar to five dollars. These guards have minimal special features and provide minimal amount of protection. They cost between 50 cents and 5 dollars.
- Custom fit mouthguards – these mouthguards offer a more customized fit through an at-home molding process. The key to finding the right guard is to make sure that it does not inhibit the ability to talk, breathe or drink, so that the athlete can stay hydrated. Our guards are 1.6mm thin for optimized athletic performance. To reduce the risk of exposure to germs, it makes sense to get a guard which will stay in the mouth for the entire duration of the game. And of course, the guard has to offer superior protection.
- Dental mouthguards – Your dental professional can fit you or your child for a mouthguard that will be molded in a dental laboratory faciilty. This is the best custom fit option, which offers outstanding dental protection, but the guards may still be bulky and they do run on the expensive side – upwards of $200. Please speak with your dental professional about a custom mouthguard that is right for you.
Which numerous options available on the market, particularly in the home sector custom fit guards, the choice ultimately boils down to three main factors: protection, comfort and cost. The ADA recommends choosing mouthguards which are:
- Strong and resistant to tears
- Fit properly and comfortably stay in your mouth
- Are easy to clean
- Allow you to talk, breathe and stay hydrated during the game
SISU Guards meet and exceed these requirements with our ultra thin, super strong guards which allow ultimate comfort. SISU Guards allow the player to talk, drink and breathe better during the game and stay in the mouth for the entire duration of the game, minimizing germ exposure.
While peer pressure may push your child away from wearing the right dental protection for their sport, keep in mind that the injury rates are high and the dental care costs are expensive. Finding a mouth guard that is thin and comfortable, doesn’t distort their natural look or speech pattern, and stays in the mouth during the entire game is more likely to convince your child to wear a guard to a game or practice.