With fall sports just around the corner, it’s time to buy equipment and parents are scrambling to buy everything their child needs to stay safe while playing sports. One of the most important and cost-effective pieces of protective equipment is the mouthguard.

Are Mouthguards Truly that Effective? 

Parents should buy their child a mouthguard because they can help lessen or prevent damage to the mouth, face and head. They do this by absorbing the shock that comes with physical contact. This spreads out the impact, reducing the effect on individual parts of the head and helping reduce the likelihood of a concussion or traumatic brain injury. According to Weill Cornell Medicine, approximately 500,000 children a year visit an emergency room for traumatic brain injuries, the single largest cause of emergency room visits among adolescents. Since children are more prone to injury, having the right protective equipment is a must.  

Mouthguards offer protection against: 

  • Tooth fractures, displacement or loss 
  • Soft tissue injuries (lip/cheek cuts) 
  • Jaw fractures 
  • Issues caused by teeth grinding 
  • Concussions  
  • Severe head or brain injuries 

What Kind of Mouthguard Should I Buy? 

There are three types of mouthguards that you can buy for your child:  

  • Custom-Fitted 
  • Stock 
  • Boil-and-Bite 

What if my Child Has Braces? 

If your child has braces, wearing a mouthguard is essential. The mouthguard acts as a barrier between the braces and your child’s lips and cheeks to prevent injuries to the soft tissues inside their mouth. Wearing one also prevents damage to the brackets or appliances attached to them.  

Children with braces will require a properly fitted mouthguard to ensure their safety and comfort. Most mouthguards only cover the top teeth, but your dentist may recommend that your child get one for their bottom teeth as well. 

When it comes to sports and exercise safety, it is important that your child wears the proper equipment. By having your child wear a mouthguard, you can prevent your child from a brain injury. 

In the event of a traumatic brain injury, it is important to seek medical attention right away. To make sure your child recovers quickly, talk to your doctor to determine how serious the injury is, if your child needs treatment, and when it is safe for them to return to school and sports.  

At MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach, our Trauma Center provides extraordinary pediatric trauma patient care from admission to hospital release and follow-up care. Our team uses pediatric equipment and supplies with capabilities of initial evaluation and treatment of pediatric trauma patients. Visit our website to learn more about our services and what we can do for your child.