When the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, it inspired children throughout the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas to pick up the sport of ice hockey. But as youngsters cheered on the champions, parents took notice of all the gap-toothed grins as players hoisted the trophy. There is always a possibility of injury when participating in sports, but many popular fall and winter activities carry an elevated risk, especially for dental injuries. Instead of worrying that a son or daughter is one hit away from losing a tooth, there are steps a parent can take to protect a child’s oral health.
It’s Not Just Hockey
Although hockey may be the sport synonymous with missing or broken teeth, it takes a backseat when it comes to one popular pastime. One study found that basketball is actually the sport with the greatest amount of dental injuries. That is likely due to the fact that mouthguard usage is not mandated like it is in some contact sports. But whether your child is participating in basketball, hockey, volleyball, gymnastics, or another athletic endeavor, a mouth injury can occur.
The Importance of Mouthguards
If you wouldn’t send your child onto the field of play without a helmet or proper head protection, why not protect their teeth as well? Mouthguards absorb shock and limit movement when experiencing a blow to the jaw, while also protecting soft tissue areas. Consistent use can prevent injuries like split lips and broken, chipped, or knocked-out teeth.
But in too many cases, kids do not use proper mouth protection. According to one survey, just 60% of children wear mouthguards when participating in fall and winter sports. It’s a surprising number, especially when considering failure to use a mouthguard makes an individual 1.6 to 1.9 times more likely to experience a dental injury.
How To Find the Right Mouthguard
Mouthguards are available for purchase in sporting goods stores, drugstores, or online. Many of the boil-and-bite products are inexpensive, although issues exist over durability and comfort. For the best protection, visit your dentist to have him or her design a custom mouthguard. These pieces are far more comfortable and much more resistant to tearing. The price is also right, especially considering it is only a fraction of the cost of replacing a broken or missing tooth. If you need a custom mouthguard for your son or daughter, schedule an appointment with Ellicott Mills Dental today. Our staff would be happy to set you up with the best possible oral protection. Or if injury has already struck, we can handle any dental emergency. New patients are always welcome and same-day appointments are available.