Every year, thousands of youth athletes compete in football games. Unfortunately, playing football may cause damage to the teeth of many of these players. While a helmet and a mouthguard do a lot to help a child's dental health, these protective items have limitations.
Thankfully, a fitted mouthguard can provide maximum protection to a football player's mouth. Parents who don't think that dentist-designed mouthguards are necessary must understand the benefits that these high-quality mouthguard models provide.
Football Players Suffer From Dental Problems
The American Dental Association reported that sports cause anywhere from 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries. While games like hockey, soccer, and basketball have high injury rates, football is also dangerous to a player's dental health. A hard tackle may knock the helmet off of a player's head, rip the mouthguard from their teeth, and cause severe dental issues.
Most dental injuries on the football field are due to poorly-fit mouthguards. While using a generic mouthguard will save parents money, a custom-fitted model will more effectively protect their football player's teeth.
Professionally-Fitted Mouthguards May Help
Parents concerned about their child's teeth should talk to their dentist about professionally-fitted mouthguards. Dentists create fitted mouthguards after taking a bite impression of a player's mouth. A bite impression gives the dentist a look at the exact contours and textures of a football player's mouth. As a result, professionally-fitted mouthguards provide many benefits to a young football player.
For example, a fitted guard fits the teeth of a player more precisely. Dentists create these mouthguards to match the exact dental texture of a player's mouth, which creates a stronger buffer against damage.
Fitted mouthguards also use a higher-quality rubber than generic models. More robust rubber will absorb more impact force and distribute it through the mouth more evenly. As a result, football players are less likely to experience severe issues, such as cracks or lost teeth.
You Can Adjust the Mouthguard for a Better Fit
Fitted mouthguards usually fit on the teeth without any difficulty. However, a player may need to adjust the mouth guard a little to increase its protection. For example, lightly biting a custom-fitted mouthguard better fits it to the textures of a football player's teeth.
Players can also adjust the strap holding the mouth guard to the helmet to ensure maximum tightness. For example, players can shorten the strap to keep it close to their mouth. Mouthguards typically have several notches in the strap rubber that adjust for a better fit.
Dental Care Is Needed When a Mouth Guard Is Not Enough
While a mouthguard can prevent many types of dental injuries during a football game, dental emergencies may still happen. For example, a player might get tackled during a run and start bleeding from the mouth after biting the tongue. However, not every situation requires emergency dental treatment.
Typically, severe damage to teeth or gums needs emergency care if the child is in danger of losing a tooth. A loose tooth bleeding at the roots requires immediate emergency dental care. And any impact to the face — such as a hard pass to the mouth — likely needs emergency care.
A custom-fit mouthguard can help you protect your child’s teeth if they are playing a dangerous sport. So parents concerned about a football-playing child's dental health should talk to a dentist about the many benefits of a mouthguard. Dentists can also discuss protective measures that will prevent severe impact damage caused by football.Please contact us at Eastland & Professional Dental Care to learn more about mouthguards and general dental health in youth football players.