Sport is a massive part of our culture in Australia, and we’re always encouraging kids to get out and get involved. Unfortunately, in some sports, accidents can happen which might leave us having to dealing with the fallout of a knock to the face.
We often think about mouthguards as a way to protect our teeth from chips, cracks, fractures, or even being completely knocked out. While this is true, a well fitted, custom made mouthguard from your dentist can also reduce the risk or jaw fractures and even concussion, as it can soften, absorb and disperse the force from a blow to the area.
Custom vs store bought
While much advertising and celebrity endorsements try to tell us that the store bought “boil-and-bite” mouthguards are just as good, rarely do they fit adequately. In a lot of ways, it would be like wearing a compression sock and expecting it to protect you from an ankle sprain like an ankle brace. There is a reason you don’t see professional boxers wearing store bought mouthguards!
Having a mouthguard custom made, not only will it fit your teeth perfectly, but it can be customed in thickness (depending on sport), colours, how far it extends onto the soft tissue, and can even have a name and phone number put on them. What’s more, many health funds treat mouthguards as a preventive treatment and pay good rebates.
Over time, the effectiveness of a mouthguard will decrease for a number of reasons. Children’s teeth will change dramatically as they grow and as their adult teeth come through. Also, over time, they can grind and bite through it. A mouthguard will only offer protection if it:
- Fits snuggly around the teeth.
- Has an adequate thickness (recommendations differ by sport)
- Extends to the right areas for maximum protection
- Comfortable so the child will wear it and can breath comfortably
Your child’s mouthguard should be checked for fit and thickness at the beginning of each sport season. Bringing it to your 6-monthly check-up for the dentist to have a look at it is a great way to keep on top of it. Should it need replacement, we can likely take an impression during the visit, to save you an extra visit.
To keep your mouthguard maintained during your sports season, always:
- Rinse it in cold water after use and store in a ventilated plastic container
- Keep it out of direct sunlight or in hot places as this can warp the mouthguard
- Every few uses, give it a good clean. An effective way to do this is a half hour soak in a 30% white vinegar/70% water mix, followed by a gentle scrub.
- A rinse with mouthwash from time-to-time to help it taste fresh.
- Check it for damage and fit regularly and replace it if it’s compromised.
If you need a mouthguard, need to assess your old mouthguard, or if you had any further questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on (07) 3379 1328