With sports becoming more important in kids and teens lives, knowing what type of mouthguard to purchase can be confusing for today's parent. In fact, just like a helmet is crucial for head protection, a properly fitting mouthguard is crucial for teeth and mouth protection. Wearing the right athletic mouth guard can protect from facial and dental traumas, as well as reduce the chance of concussions.
At Nxtrnd, we understand and are aware that kids who play sports are at a higher risk of mouth injuries. Read on to learn how to protect your child's smile and prevent a trip to the emergency dentist.
An athletic mouthguard is designed to protect the teeth, gums, soft tissue and mouth from trauma. Typically made of a soft and flexible plastic material called "EVA", mouthguards feature a U-shaped design that fits between the upper and lower teeth separating them by approximately 3-4mm.
When not wearing a properly designed mouth guard, trauma in the form of serious mouth injuries can occur. From chipped teeth to loss of teeth, depending on the degree on dental injury, recovery can take months or even years of treatment and cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Recent studies also suggest that properly designed and fitted mouthguards help to prevent neck injuries as well as concussions, which are a serious concern for parents.
How do you know if a mouthguard fits well and does its job?
To begin, a well-fitting mouthguard should fit snugly against your child’s teeth and should not demand clenching down to keep it in place. If the guard feels loose in the mouth, it is not fitting properly and its protective abilities will be reduced.
Another sign of a bad fit is when it causes difficulty breathing, talking or swallowing.The best way to ensure your child's mouthguard fits correctly is to purchase from a trusted manufacturer and follow the detailed fitting instructions purposely made for the mouthguard.
Before starting a new sport or physical exercise activity, the American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard for approximately 30 different sports some of which include the following:
Acrobatics, basketball, football, boxing, hockey, bicycling, gymnastics, equestrian, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby, racquetball, handball, inline skating, wrestling, martial arts, skiing, soccer, volleyball, weightlifting, field hockey and more.
There are a few types of sport mouthguards available for children and adults.
The first type is store bought mouth guards, also known as over the counter mouthguards or stock mouthguards, and generally come in a few predetermined sizes. These guards are usually the worse fitting and least protective. In fact, because of their limited adjustability and inexpensive cost, one size fit all mouthguards are difficult to keep in place, not comfortable, and are the cheapest in terms of material composition and durability.
The second type is known as "Boil-&-Bite" mouth guards. Boil and bite mouthguards are often found in sports stores and can be heated and formed around the teeth. Heating them in boiled water temporarily softens the material, allowing it to mold to your child's teeth. The concern with these guards is that they are bulky and may cause difficulties when breathing or talking, making it less comfortable and more difficult for your child to wear during a sporting event.
The third type of mouthguard is called a custom fit mouthguard. Custom fit mouthguards are made by a dental professional to conform precisely to the shape of your child's mouth. These guards are usually the least bulky and offer the most comfort because of their better fit. Custom mouthguards are fabricated in a dental laboratory where they use impressions of your child's teeth to form and design the guard. The downside of these mouth guards is the fee associated with their fabrication, the time it takes to receive the finished product and the fact that readjustments as your child grows and teeth shift are not included in the price. We recommend custom mouth guards for adults or fully grown athletes that can afford the hefty price tag.
The fourth type of mouthguard is an intermediate between custom and boil-&-bite guards. At Nxtrnd Mouthguards, we recommend this type as it provides the same protection, fit, and comfort as custom mouthguards but for a fraction of the cost. Our mouthguards are made of the highest quality EVA and silicone materials and are individually engineered for sport specific protection. With their ability to be re-adjusted through a molding process for optimal protection and performance, Nxtrnd has been called the best choice available for preventing costly dental trauma and injuries.
The benefits of preventing possible concussions and protecting the face and teeth of an athlete far outweighs the cost of any mouthguard. A parent should always consider investing in a high quality mouth guard before enrolling their child in a sport.
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