Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. Mouthguards also help children avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth or even tooth loss. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
“It is important for kids who play sports to start wearing mouthguards from a young age so it becomes a routine and habit-formed,” says sports and exercise medicine physician Anne Rex, DO, FAOASM. “The mouthguard isn’t optional but regarded as any other piece of their essential equipment and uniform.”
A common conversation I have with parents is about their child’s diet. Cavities are caused by bacteria, specifically streptococcus mutans, who thrive on fermentable carbohydrates such as breads, crackers, pretzels, potato chips and gummy snacks. These foods are a frequent snack in our American diet. Every time your child takes a bite of these simple carbohydrates, the pH in their mouths drops to a critical level where bacteria can digest the carbohydrate and then excrete an acid that dissolves their enamel (ie cavities). This lasts 30 minutes in duration.
So every time they take a new bite, the window extends where bacteria can excrete this acid. With the frequency of snacking in our culture, I advise parents to choose wise snacking foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheeses. Bacteria cannot utilize these foods to cause cavities. Save those simple carbohydrates for a defined meal time rather than snack time.