Sports and physical activities are essential for children’s development, promoting physical fitness, teamwork, and self-confidence. In addition to the risk of routine sports injuries such as concussions or broken bones, these activities also carry the risk of dental injuries which can have significant and lasting consequences.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the importance of mouthguards in safeguarding your child’s smile during sports activities. From understanding the risks of dental injuries to selecting the right mouthguard for your child’s needs, we’ll provide you with valuable insights to ensure your little athlete can play safely and confidently.

Understanding the risks of dental injuries in sports

Participating in sports exposes children to various risks of dental injuries, including:

  • Impact Collisions: Collisions with other players, equipment, or hard surfaces can result in broken, chipped, or knocked-out teeth.
  • Falls and Accidents: Falls during sports activities can lead to injuries to the face and mouth, including fractured jaws or soft tissue injuries.
  • Contact Sports: Sports such as football, basketball, hockey, soccer and others can pose a higher risk of dental injuries due to their physical nature and contact with other athletes.

The role of mouthguards in preventing dental injuries

Protection and shock absorption

Mouthguards act as a protective barrier, absorbing and dispersing the force of impacts to the face and mouth. They help reduce the risk of dental injuries by cushioning the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. They can even reduce the likelihood of concussions.

Preventing tooth fractures and loss

Mouthguards can prevent tooth fractures, chips, and avulsions (complete tooth loss) by providing a cushioning effect during impacts.

Types of mouthguards

There are three main types of mouthguards:

  • Stock Mouthguards: These pre-formed mouthguards are available ready-to-wear but may not provide a snug or comfortable fit.
  • Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: Boil-and-bite mouthguards are softened in hot water, and then shaped to fit the child’s mouth by biting down. While they offer a better fit than stock mouthguards, they may still be bulky or uncomfortable.
  • Custom-Fitted Mouthguards: Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by a dentist based on impressions of the child’s teeth. They offer the best fit, comfort, and protection, as they’re tailored to the child’s unique mouth shape.

Custom-fit mouthguards are the best option for most children

While stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are readily available, custom-fitted mouthguards offer superior fit and protection. At Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, we’ll take impressions of your child’s teeth to create a mouthguard that fits snugly and securely. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a custom mouthguard for your child.

Comfort and compliance

A comfortable mouthguard is more likely to be worn consistently. Custom-fitted mouthguards are designed to fit comfortably and securely, allowing your child to breathe, speak, and drink water without interference during sports activities.

Caring for mouthguards

Proper care and maintenance of mouthguards are essential to ensure their effectiveness and longevity:


Rinse the mouthguard with cold water or mouthwash after each use. Brush it gently with a toothbrush and mild soap, and store it in a ventilated container after each use.

Regular inspection

Inspect the mouthguard regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, tears, or distortions. Replace the mouthguard as needed to maintain optimal protection.

Encouraging proper use

Education and awareness

Educate your child about the importance of wearing a mouthguard during sports activities. Emphasize that it’s not just about protecting their teeth but also their overall oral health and well-being.

Lead by example

Wear a mouthguard yourself if you participate in sports or physical activities. Setting a positive example reinforces the importance of mouthguard use and encourages your child to follow suit.

Protect your child’s teeth and oral health while they are vulnerable

Investing in a quality mouthguard is a proactive step in safeguarding your child’s health and smile during physical activities. By understanding the risks of dental injuries, selecting the right mouthguard, and encouraging proper use and care, you can help protect your child’s teeth and oral health for years to come.

At Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville, we’re committed to supporting parents in prioritizing their child’s overall health and dental safety. Schedule a consultation with our pediatric dental team to learn more about custom-fitted mouthguards and other preventive measures. Together, let’s ensure that your child can enjoy their favorite sports with confidence and peace of mind.