The warmer weather always means more kids are playing outdoors. Whether your kids are playing in a league or just playing a pickup game of baseball in the yard with friends, it is important that you protect their teeth from sports related injuries.

One of the best ways to do this, is with mouthguards. Mouthguards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Your child’s dentist can even make a custom mouthguard just for their mouth.

According to the American Dental Association, athletes who do not use a mouthguard are 60 times more likely to injure their teeth. There is also some research that says that mouthguards may offer some protection against concussions.

Some leagues and sports require mouthguards. All sports should given that an unforeseen injury can occur at any time. Spots like football, basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, lacrosse and even track and field, can benefit from wearing a mouthguard. Athletes playing sports in which no headgear is worn are especially vulnerable to mouth injuries.

Many of our local sporting goods stores can offer the generic brands of mouthguards. Oftentimes, however, the fit of these can be difficult to get right especially in a growing child’s mouth. It is best to read up on the brands that you find, to determine if it will be a good fit for your child’s mouth. Choosing something endorsed by an athlete may not always be the best option as those individuals are often paid for their endorsements. Make sure the guard extends over all of the teeth without impinging the gums.

Sometimes, the store brand mouthguards may not leave enough room if your child has braces. Look for a brand that specifically states it is for individuals wearing braces. You want to be sure the braces are not rubbing against the guard and causing discomfort.

Most orthodontists or pediatric dentists can create a custom mouthguard for your child. While this option is the more expensive one compared to the store bought variety, the benefits are justifiable. The cost of dental trauma is considerably higher if your child injuries their teeth and gums.

The most important aspect of a mouthguard is that if your child has one, make sure they wear it! Nothing helps protect the teeth more during those fun times playing outdoors. Have a fun Summer and keep those teeth safe!