May 20, 2022

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Your Complete Guide to Mouth Guards for Kids

4 min read
kids mouth guards

Sports are a great way to provide the best conditions for your child’s development into a healthy adult. However, sports also include risks of injuries, which is why many sports require protective gear. Semi-contact or contact sports require the use of mouth guards. 

What are mouth guards used for in sports?

Mouth guards are a part of the equipment that protects the mouth and teeth from injuries and should be chosen carefully. Once damaged, the teeth are mostly permanently deformed. On the other hand, soft tissue injuries might leave ugly scars. One of the injuries that can leave the worst consequences is concussions, and mouth guards protect against them. We provided help when making this important choice in the following lines. 

Which sports require mouth guards?

The coach will often explain whether your child needs a mouth guard even before the first training. Also, they will consider it a mandatory part of gear for each training session. 

The sports that require mouth guards are:

  • Field sports: rugby, football, and soccer;
  • Ball-and-stick sports: baseball, softball, cricket, and squash;
  • Hand-to-hand sports: martial arts like karate, sambo, and judo, as well as boxing and wrestling;
  • Competitive riding: cycling, horseback riding, and skateboarding;
  • Indoor activities: gymnastics, acrobatics, and weightlifting;
  • Outdoor activities: water-skiing, skiing, biking, and rollerblading.

What types of mouth guards are available?

There are a few types of mouth guards on the market. Depending on your child’s jaw features they might prefer different solutions. Most important is that the chosen mouth guard fits. 

Ready-made mouth guards

These are pre-made mouth guards that come in different sizes. They are ready to go as soon as you buy them, making them instant-fit mouth guards. They can be a bit bulkier and less secure until weakened by usage.

Boil-and-bite mouth guards

The most popular choice, the mouth-adapted mouth guard has both elements of pre and custom-made mouth guards. It is pre-made and as such available in different sizes, but it has the inside part that needs to be softened by submerging in hot water before trying it out in your mouth. Afterward, set it in the shape of your own teeth and gums by simply biting into it. Boil-and-bite mouth guards are not as expensive as custom-made mouth guards and are available in stores that specialize in sports equipment. With this inner layer that adjusts to the wearer, they still give more than a partial fit. 

Custom-made mouth guards

To ensure that your child has the safest protection, it is best if the mouth guards are professionally made just for them. The process of getting a mouth guard made for your child is not that complicated. 

Earlier, you would go to the dentist and they would make a mould out of your little athlete’s teeth impression. Nowadays, dentists will scan your child’s mouth and then use a program to print a mouth guard that perfectly fits your child. Their only downside can be that they come with the highest price tag. Be certain, however, that this mouth guard will fit your teeth best. 

How to be certain you have chosen the right mouth guard?

The mouth guard is something that goes inside of our mouths and touches sensitive soft tissue the inside of the mouth. As such it must feel pleasant on the skin. Too rough materials or too big mouth guards can lead to bruising and even mouth sores – open wounds inside the mouth that is truly painful. As it is easily avoided, encourage your child to tell you how it feels once set in.

The next point is if it is coming in the way of your breathing. It can be too thick or too big and make it hard for you to breathe while being active. If this happens it is a clear sign you need to change your mouth guard. A long time ago mouth guards were not made thinking about anything but teeth protection, so the athletes couldn’t talk or drink until taking them out. That is not the case today, so check how they talk with a mouth guard on.

It is also important that your mouth guard fits right. If you need to clench your teeth or move your tongue to keep it in place, the mouth guard is ill-fit. The easily moved mouth guard will not stay in place if the impact that could result in injury happens, so this also is not for use.

There are varieties in mouth guards when it comes to the percentage of mouth coverage. Some cover only teeth, while there are some that cover gums or even lips. The higher the coverage, the more protection it provides. 

Do you have any recommendations for certain sports? Will your child wear them? Share your experience with us!

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