Have you ever thought about how it would feel if you lost one or two of your front teeth? You’d probably avoid smiling and it would be uncomfortable talking with someone face-to-face. It wouldn’t be easy pronouncing certain words. How about eating an apple? It’s easy to take some things for granted until they’re suddenly gone.
April is National Facial Protection Month. Each year, thousands of children and teens get hurt during sporting events or while skateboarding, biking or enjoying other recreational activities. Blows to the face can injure your teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Children ages 7-11 are most vulnerable to sports-related mouth injuries, and athletes are 60 percent more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they’re not wearing a mouth guard.
Choosing the Right Mouth Guard
A properly fitted mouth guard is an important piece of protective gear that can protect your teeth and smile. The best mouth guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-made mouth guard, you can still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard available at sporting goods stores. The most effective mouth guard should be resilient, tear resistant and comfortable. It should also fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.
Generally, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth, but variations exist. Your dentist can suggest the right mouth guard for you based on age and type of activity.
How to Keep Your Mouth Guard in Great Shape
Before and after each use, clean and rinse with cold water or with an antiseptic mouth rinse
Store your mouth guard in a firm, perforated container which permits air circulation and helps prevent damage
Avoid high temperatures, such as hot water, hot surfaces or direct sunlight, which can distort the mouth guard
Check for tears, holes and poor fit which can irritate your mouth and lessen the amount of protection it provides
Have regular dental checkups and bring your mouth guard along so the dentist can make sure it’s still in good condition.
Don’t take your teeth for granted, protect your smile with a mouth guard. Remember that a mouth guard should be worn for any recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth.
Finally, in the case of an injury to the face, mouth or teeth, visit your dentist promptly. Time can be of the essence when treating these types of injuries.
Primary Children’s Hospital ranks among the best children's hospitals. Located in scenic Utah, everything in our hospital is focused on providing the best care for children. For more than 90 years, we have been committed to helping children, families, and communities across the western United States.