To protect the mouth and teeth from serious injury, a mouthguard, usually a flexible piece of plastic that fits into the mouth, should be worn during all recreational and athletic activities--especially activities where there is contact or potential contact with another person, piece of equipment, or the ground. In particular, mouthguards should be worn during the following sports:
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Martial arts
Some of these sports require the use of a mouthguard at the amateur level.
Many recreational activities such as skateboarding and bicycling also pose a risk of injuring the mouth and teeth. Exercise caution during these activities.
Injuries to the teeth, mouth, and head may include the following, many of which could be prevented with proper and consistent use of a mouthguard:
- Dislodged or knocked out tooth/teeth
- Broken or chipped tooth
- Bitten or lacerated tongue and/or lip
- Objects caught/lodged between the teeth
- Jaw fracture
- Jaw collision--the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw
There are several types of mouthguards that can be used. The following are two of the most common types:
- Pre-made mouthguards
One type is already made and can be found in most sport stores. There are different types and brands. Choose the one that fits best and is most comfortable.
- Custom-made mouthguards
Your child's dentist can make a mouthguard specifically for your child. These may be more expensive, but usually are more comfortable for the child.
Consult your child's dentist regarding the best type of mouthguard to use.
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