Ask a Dentist

Mouth Guards — Why, When and What

Why are mouth guards important?

Mouth guards act as “shock absorbers” and can provide protection not only for our children’s teeth, but also for their lips, cheeks and tongue. In some cases, they can even help prevent concussions and fractures to the jaw.

When should my child wear a mouth guard?

While most parents think of football as being the most dangerous sport for the teeth, all sports in which there are potential falls or head contact with other players or equipment could potentially lead to dental trauma. Thus, parents should consider having their child wear a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. This would include not only organized sports such as soccer, basketball and baseball, but also recreational activities such as riding skateboards, scooters or Ripstiks.

What type of mouth guard should my child wear?

Any type of mouth guard is better than none at all. “Boil and bite” mouth guards, which can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, are an inexpensive and convenient option. However, they do not provide the best fit or level of protection. The best choice would be a custom-fit mouth guard made by your child’s dentist. While a bit more expensive, this type of mouth guard will provide your child with the maximum protection and the best quality fit. Remember, the better the fit, the more likely your child will wear the mouth guard.