Protecting Your Child’s Teeth During Sporting Events

Sports mouth guards are used to protect your child’s teeth, gums, and oral soft tissue structures from injury or trauma. They are especially useful for high impact sports such as football, baseball, basketball, martial arts, or hockey. In fact, if your child plays football, ice hockey, lacrosse, or field hockey, a mouth guard may even be a requirement to be on the team. Custom mouth guards fit comfortably and are made from materials that can absorb the possible force experienced during sports.

Orange sports mouth guard next to a protective case on a wood floor and a black background

Did You Know?

Approximately 25% of dental injuries in children are sports-related. In fact, the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimated that in 2012 more than 3 million teeth would be knocked out as a result of sports.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does my child need a mouth guard?

If your child plays high-contact sports, a mouth guard is strongly recommended and may even be required by some coaches or schools. Although there are over the counter mouth guards, these rarely offer the best fit and are not made from the same quality materials. Furthermore, having a customized mouth guard allows our dentists to monitor your child to make sure the mouth guard is functioning as effectively as possible.

What are mouth guards made of?

Mouth guards are usually made out of heat-cured acrylic resin, however they can also be made from soft acrylic or vinyl. Soft splints may be recommended over hard splints due to the fact that growth can change the fit of hard splints.

What should my child expect when being fitted for a new mouth guard?

Orange dental impression in a green tray on a white background

When your child is fit for a new mouth guard, we will take a dental impression of their mouth. A dental impression uses a gooey gel inside a metal or plastic tray that are held around the teeth for about a minute while the goo dries into a soft putty. This impression is used to fabricate their custom mouth guard, either in the office or at a dental lab.

Does my child need to follow any special instruction after getting their mouth guard?

When your child gets their mouth guard, our dentists will go over instructions with you about how it is to be worn. If the mouth guard is for sports, most likely these instructions will be as simple as having them wear the mouth guard while participating in physical activity. However, if they are wearing a mouth guard for other reasons, we will discuss how often their mouth guard should be worn.

How do I get my child to actually wear their mouth guard?

While knowing the importance of having your child wearing a mouth guard is one thing, actually getting them to wear their mouth guard is another. Some coaches and schools may require them to wear a mouth guard during certain sports, so that should help convince them. However, other ways to encourage your child to wear their mouth guard is to let them choose the color and design. This way they can establish a sense of ownership over their mouth guard and may be more likely to wear it. Colored mouth guards are also much easier to find if they fall out during game play.

How do I take care of my child’s mouth guard?

Caring for your child’s mouth guard entails two things: keeping it safe when not in use and properly cleaning it. To keep it safe, store it in it’s hard plastic case when it is not being used and stress the importance of protecting it to your child. To avoid losing the mouth guard, you may be able to get a strap to attach it directly to your child’s helmet (if they use one). To properly clean your child’s mouth guard, you will want to teach them how to use cool water and a little bit of soap to gently scrub and rinse their mouth guard after every use. Be sure to avoid using hot water because this can change the shape of the mouth guard and prevent it from fitting properly.

Other general mouth guard care tips for your child to follow include:

  • Do not share your mouth guard
  • Do not chew on your mouth guard
  • Avoid leaving your mouth guard in the sun or in other hot areas for extended periods of time
  • Make sure your mouth guard is dry before placing it back into its case after cleaning
  • Bring your mouth guard to every dental checkup
  • Inspect your mouth guard for signs of wear
  • If your mouth guard endures a strong blow, it may need to be replaced
  • Replace your mouth guard every 2-3 years or as needed.

How long with my child’s mouth guard last?

On average, mouth guards can last anywhere from 2-3 years. However, depending on how fast your child is growing and how often they use it, they may need to have it replaced more frequently. Our dentists will help evaluate your child’s mouth guard to determine when it should be replaced.

How much will my child’s mouth guard cost?

The cost of your child’s mouth guard can vary, however an average price is usually between $200-$500. The good news is that some insurance companies offer full or partial coverage to help offset the cost of your child’s mouth guard.

For the best pediatric dentist in Battery Park City, schedule a consultation with Battery Park Pediatrics. We are proud to provide a wide range of pediatric dental services to the communities of Brookfield Place, TriBeCa, Lower Manhattan, and Wall Street.