I have 5 children, 4 of which grew up playing sports. From basketball to hockey to lacrosse my kids were always, and one still is, playing sports. As a mom, the hardest thing to do is see a child get injured from playing the sport they love. It is also difficult trying to manage all the protective gear necessary to play each sport. Safety equipment is necessary, and my kids never argued about wearing it all…. except when it came to the mouthguard. It did not matter which sport, none of them ever wore one without a fight. I have heard every excuse in the book, from “no one else ‘s mom makes them wear one” to “I can’t talk to my teammates when I have it in!” I would always find it hanging out of the side of their mouth if they had it in, and was always yelling at them from the sideline to put it back in. Strangely enough one of my kids had a goal taken back from his team during a high school lacrosse game for not having his mouthguard in when he took the shot. He was so upset, but I was secretly very happy with the referee for taking a stand on safety.
One of the pediatric dentists at my office asked me one morning if my daughter wore a mouthguard for basketball (she was in 4th grade at the time) and I said “no, she doesn’t like to “. It was not mandatory, so I didn’t force her to wear one. He proceeded to tell me that he had an emergency over the weekend. A 6th grade girl was tripped during a basketball game without a mouthguard and smashed her face into floor, resulting in some front teeth being lost. Needless to say, I brought my daughter in the next week and had her fitted for a custom mouthguard! I also spoke to the coach and asked her to try and enforce mouthguards.
Mouthguards come in all types of shapes and sizes but as I have come to learn the best type of mouthguard is the one that is specially fit to you by your dentist. Custom fit mouthguards are vital in preventing concussions and loss of teeth. An article I just read had a very impactful line: “Athletes are only given one brain and it is important to do whatever it takes to protect it.” That is such a powerful statement that I cannot imagine why anyone would not do what it takes to make sure their kids head is protected.
The spring season is fast approaching and even though it is still different due to COVID-19, the one thing that remains the same is the need for safety. Talk to your child today and give your dentist a call to schedule a fitting for a custom mouthguard. Your kids will be happy because they can talk much better with a custom mouthguard, and you will know that you are doing everything you can to keep them protected. 😊
Written by Kim Tanner