Only if you want to protect their front teeth from a lifetime of dental work! One in five children suffer trauma to their adult teeth, and the peak time for this is when they start playing sport, around eight to ten years of age. The upper front teeth are the most commonly damaged.
The dental profession as a whole feels very passionately about the use of proper mouthguards, because we are the ones who see the devastating effects of damage to the teeth from sporting injuries time and time again. Have you ever seen someone with a grey front tooth? Or heard of a friend’s front tooth “dying” and needing a root canal? Often these issues result from the teeth taking a knock during sport, and are not easily fixed. Root canal, fillings, crowns will all need to be attended to more than once - this not only becomes costly, but isn’t much fun, especially for someone who is young and potentially nervous about going to the dentist. As we all know – prevention is better than cure! So here’s what you need to know about mouthguards…
Yes, you can buy mouthguards from the pharmacy which are far cheaper than what you can have made at the dentist. However, these mouthguards are thin and provide very little protection from a cricket ball to the face. They are uncomfortable to wear as they interfere with breathing and speaking, and often kids will avoid them for this reason.
A custom mouthguard made by your dentist provides much better protection for precious teeth. They are thicker than the pharmacy style “boil and bite” mouthguards and adapt to the upper teeth properly, whilst biting against the bottom teeth comfortably. The thickness of a mouthguard and the provision of an even biting surface have been shown in studies to be critical in preventing injury to teeth. Fitting snugly means that they are less likely to be displaced on impact, and also are more likely to be worn. If they’re not going to wear it, there’s no point in having one!
In an ideal world, people would wear mouthguards for all sports. Realistically though, it is recommended that they are worn for the following sports: all football codes, martial arts, bat and ball sports, basketball, netball and waterpolo.
Mouthguards can be worn when children have braces, and can also be designed to allow for changes in the mouth if they are still in the process of losing baby teeth. Some children, with prominent front teeth for example, are actually twice as likely to experience a dental injury, so it is important to have them wearing mouthguards from a young age. This article has focused on children, but it is equally as important for adults to wear mouthguards if they are playing contact sport too.
Contact us if you need any advice on a custom-fitted mouthguard.