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Does my child need a mouth guard to play sports? What kind should I choose?
Yes! Mouth guards should be worn by both children and adults when playing any type of contact sports (football, hockey, boxing, etc.) and even in some non contact sports (softball, baseball, soccer, etc.) or recreational activities (skateboarding, mountain biking, etc.). The mouth guard will protect your child’s soft tissue, tongue and lips and reduce the risk chipping or breaking teeth during these activities.
Usually a mouth guard covers only the top teeth, but sometimes, a lower guard will also be needed when a dental appliance or braces are in place. There are several different kinds of mouth guards available, some can be purchased at a sporting goods store, while others must be professionally made. If you choose to purchase one a sporting goods store, we recommend a “boil and bite” guard (which is made of a thermoplastic material that when heated can be shaped around your child’s teeth) rather than a preformed, ready-to-wear guard that cannot be molded around your child’s teeth. The preformed mouth protectors are the least expensive, however they are bulky, make breathing difficult and provide very little protection. The best protection is provided by a custom fitted guard which is made at your dentist’s office or professional laboratory from an impression of your child’s mouth.