When you're taking care of all the back-to-school essentials this summer, there's one you might not have thought about: sports mouthguards.

A mouthguard is the only line of defence for your child's vulnerable teeth, protecting them from accidental injury when they're playing sport and enjoying other active pastimes.

For the best protection, you'll need a custom-fitted mouthguard supplied by your child's dentist. These custom appliances are stronger, more comfortable to wear and can even be used if your child has braces.

Why wear a mouthguard?

Sports mouthguards are an important part of preventative dental care for children of all ages. Not only do they protect their permanent teeth from being chipped, fractured or being knocked out altogether, they also reduce the risk of injuries being sustained to the jaw, tongue and other soft tissues in the mouth.

Mouthguards are designed to be flexible, but sturdy. They can be made of soft plastic or sturdy acrylic that fits over the teeth to cushion impacts from balls, bats and other players, or to absorb the shock from a fall.

Sports mouthguards can be considered a necessity for most sporting activities, both in and out of school. So it's surprising that only around one in three children aged 5–17 (36%) have a mouthguard and wear it regularly, according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA)1. Especially considering that a third of all dental injuries are sports-related, and that children are particularly prone to injury.

What sports require a mouthguard?

Sports mouthguards are usually associated with contact sports, such as rugby, football, hockey, basketball and netball, when there's a higher risk of players and sports equipment colliding with the face.

However, contact sports aren't the only activities where mouthguards can be vital for preventing injury and tooth damage. Cricket balls can also be a danger, while gymnastics and extracurricular activities like skateboarding, cycling and rollerblading all put children at risk of falls onto hard surfaces.

What type of mouthguard does your child need?

There are two types of sports mouthguards that provide different levels of protection for your child: over-the-counter mouthguards and custom-fit mouthguards.

  • Over-the-counter mouthguards (also known as boil and bite mouthguards) are placed in hot water to mould to your teeth before use, they adapt to the shape of the wearer's mouth as they cool. They offer less protection than custom-fitted mouthguards and are less comfortable to wear.
  • Custom-fit mouthguards are provided by your dentist and are professionally made to perfectly fit your child's mouth. These mouthguards are made from a tougher material that can absorb greater shocks, are longer-lasting, and don't restrict speech like store-bought mouthguards do.

If your child wears braces, custom-fitted mouthguards are the only option that will protect their orthodontic appliance from damage as well as their teeth.

Get a perfect fit at Ocean Reef Dental Surgery

If your child needs a mouthguard for sports or to stop them grinding their teeth at night, contact our clinic in Joondalup to find out more about custom-fit mouthguards for all ages.

You can call us on (08) 9307 6700 or make an appointment online.
[1] http://www.adasa.asn.au/news/mouthguards-must-be-mandatory-for-contact-sports.