Mouthguards are most commonly used in contact sports, such as football and hockey. What many parents don’t realize is that their child may need a mouthguard for non-sports related purposes. It’s a common misconception that mouthguards are one size fits all! However, not all mouthguards are not created equal and they can serve different purposes.

To continue our Family Smiles Series, our team at Plancich Dental would like to help educate families on mouthguards. It’s important to understand the different types of mouthguards out there to ensure your child has healthy, beautiful teeth for years to come.

Types of Mouthguards

Group of kids playing football

Night Guard: If your child is frequently waking up with a sore jaw, a headache or tooth pain, it’s possible that they have bruxism—the medical term for jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Bruxism effects about three out of ten kids. Most children outgrow it but until then, your Tacoma dentist may recommend using a custom night guard.

Molded to properly fit your child’s teeth, the main function is to protect the surface of the teeth from grinding together. This prevents the teeth from chipping or cracking, and also prevents the wearer from straining their jaw.

While regularly wearing a night guard is important to prevent any damage to the teeth or jaw, we recommend looking into the root of the issue. In some cases, kids may grind because they’re stressed or their top and bottom teeth aren’t aligned properly. Your Tacoma dentist can help identify bruxism during a check-up.

Snore Guard: Different from a night guard, a snore guard prevents breathing through the mouth while your child is sleeping. Snoring often occurs when the tongue drops back into the throat. A snore guard prevents the soft tissue in the back of the mouth and the throat from vibrating.

Snore guards are designed to be comfortable and won’t disrupt your child’s sleep patterns. It’s also large enough that you don’t have to worry about it being accidentally swallowed while they sleep.

Sports Mouthguard: Something as simple as a mouthguard can make all the difference between a fun-filled day and a trip to the emergency room! According to the American Dental Association, one third of all dental injuries are sports related. It’s estimated that mouthguards can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year.

If your child engages in sports, we highly recommend them wearing a mouthguard during all practices and games, even if it’s not required by their school or sports organization.

Schedule an Appointment with Plancich Dental

Having your child wear a custom-fitted mouthguard can prevent oral injuries to the mouth, teeth, tongue and gums. Mouthguards are essential if your child participates in organized sports or other recreational activities. However, your child may need a mouthguard for other purposes, like to prevent teeth grinding or snoring.

Custom mouthguards are individually created for fit and comfort. If you would like any additional information on custom mouthguards, schedule an appointment at Plancich Dental today. Our dedicated team is here to answer any questions that you may have.