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Why Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

Why Should You Wear a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is generally considered only necessary for children and adults who play contact sports such as football or hockey. But the reality is, dental injuries can occur with any form of exercise. They can happen anytime and anywhere—at the gym, while eating an apple, or even having your glass bumped at a party.

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The simple fact is that wearing a mouth guard—particularly during physical or sporting activities—can prevent a multitude of injuries, from chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, to fractured jaws.

Bear in mind that once a permanent tooth has been knocked out, it’s gone for good. There is no substitute for real teeth, so we should do our utmost to protect them and never take them for granted. After all, veneers, bonding, root canals, and fillings are costly and often do not last a lifetime.

Given the risks, it makes a lot of sense to wear a mouth guard when playing any form of exercise or sport, including gymnastics, ice skating, and skiing.

How a Mouth Guard Works

Mouth guards work by absorbing and evenly distributing the force of contact, thereby protecting the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. For example, when a child falls off his bike, the jaw automatically clenches, causing one tooth to strike another.

While mouth guards are not mandatory in organized sports, the vast majority of dental and facial injuries are sports-related and could be easily avoided by using a mouth guard, which has been likened to an “airbag for teeth.”

The jury is still out as to whether mouth guards offer protection against concussion. But it stands to reason that extra padding between the mandible and the maxilla softens the blow of the mandible against the skull upon impact.

Types of Mouth guard

Made of a soft plastic or laminate that covers the upper teeth, mouth guards typically come in two types and vary according to quality and cost:

Generic

  • Convenient and inexpensive to purchase
  • Available at many pharmacies and sporting goods stores
  • Can be bulky, poorly fitting and uncomfortable to wear
  • Offer less protection than custom guards
  • Inhibits speech and breathing
  • Prone to being chewed on (so less effective)

Custom-fitted

  • More expensive since it is custom made
  • Available from your dentist or orthodontist
  • Made from an “impression” or exact mould of your teeth
  • Thin and snug fit, comfortable to wear
  • Ability to talk and breathe
  • Most effective protection against injuries to the teeth and jaws

How to Care For Your Mouth Guard

Like any retainer or appliance, a mouth guard will last longer if you take care to store and clean it well:

  • Gently scrub with a toothbrush and toothpaste after each use
  • Store in a protective case
  • Keep away from hot water or sun
  • Do not chew on it
  • Replace every season
  • Discard if improper fit

If you have any questions or concerns about your mouth guard, or to schedule an appointment to have one custom made, contact Kids Dental Group today at one of our convenient locations in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham.


How do sports drinks affect your child’s oral health?

How do sports drinks affect your child’s oral health?

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What are sports drinks?

The term  “​sports drink​” can include anything from vitamin waters to highly caffeinated energy drinks​. It’s important to distinguish between caffeinated energy drinks and sports drinks, which generally don’t have caffeine.

Sports Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

The caffeine in most energy drinks can cause a variety of health concerns in children. This includes:

● Interference with sleep

● Anxiety and nervousness

● Raised heartbeats

● Headaches

● Difficulty concentrating

● Frequent urination

How do sports drinks work?

Sports drinks, on the other hand, use electrolytes to increase energy. Our bodies use electrolytes to maintain our nerve and muscle function, hydration, muscle repair and blood pressure. When children sweat during exercise, they lose these electrolytes. Additionally, the sodium and sugar in sports drinks replace salt lost in perspiration and keep energy levels up.

Sports drinks can be beneficial, but they should be consumed in moderation. A child needs to have done vigorous exercise (such as cross-country running, skating, soccer, basketball etc.) for an hour before it’s necessary to replenish with a sports drink. Otherwise, the high amounts of sugar can increase the risk of ​weight gain​ and tooth decay. For most children, water is the better option for good oral health and physical wellbeing.

How do sports drinks affect oral health?

The sugar in sports drinks creates unhealthy acids that coat the teeth and build a sticky, damaging deposit called plaque. The bacteria in plaque produces acids that can ruin the protective surface of the tooth, called enamel. Over time, as a result of this damage, tooth decay will occur.

Of all age groups, teens are most heavily affected by tooth decay resulting from sports drinks. After adult teeth have come in, damage to the enamel is irreversible. Without the protective layer of enamel, teeth are prone to increased sensitivity and cavities.

Protecting your child’s teeth from sports drinks

Besides cutting out sports drinks entirely, there are other measures that you can take to protect your child’s oral health:

1. Chew sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum will help to increase saliva production exponentially. The healthy bacteria in saliva helps to protect the mouth and teeth from damaging sugar and acids.

2. Brush an hour after drinking:  Brushing your teeth after consuming sugary foods is one of the best ways to combat tooth decay. However, children should wait at ​least an hour after consuming sugary drinks before brushing their teeth. Brushing too soon can spread harmful acids into the grooves of the teeth where they are difficult to remove.

As parents, we know that you want you child to succeed in sports, but it is important not to encourage kids to believe they need a sports drink to perform at their best. Be careful not to make sports drinks your child’s go-to source of energy or as a reward for a good performance. Like soda, children can become addicted to the sugar in sports drinks.

The best place for your child to get the necessary nutrients to live an active lifestyle is from balanced meals. Kids that eat natural foods, drink water throughout the day and get enough physical activity, will naturally have energy.

If you are concerned about damage to your child’s teeth from sports drinks, your Kids Dental Group pediatric and orthodontic specialists can advise you on how to proceed.

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now. We look forward to having you!

Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642)


Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville