Taking part in sport can be extremely beneficial for children. It improves their motivation, teaches them about teamwork, and keeps them active. While it’s all fun and games on the field, as a parent on the sidelines, it can be nerve-wracking watching your child get thrown about. Injuries and mistakes are always possible, but you still want to allow your child to keep playing a sport they love, so what can you do? 

Making sure your child has an effective mouthguard (sometimes called a gum shield) will reduce one of your worries. Here’s what you need to know.  

What sports need them?

To put it simply, if the sport involves a ball, stick, or close combat, they’ll need protection.

If there’s potential for an item (hockey stick, lacrosse stick), ball (American football, rugby), or another person (boxing, karate) to whack them in the face - particularly around the mouth - they should have a gum shield. 

They’re not only for competitive games either. Injuries can happen at any time from anybody; whether it’s a competitor, a teammate, or even themselves inflicting the injury.

What are they protected from?

Between 19 and 39% of dental injuries happen while playing sports. Mouthguards help cushion any blows to the face. They prevent damage to the teeth, loss of teeth, or damage to the lips, tongue, or jaw. 

Adult teeth will start growing at around six or seven years old, so it’s best to get equipped sooner rather than later. Aside from the repair and recovery process, you’d also be gambling with your child’s future self-confidence. The last thing you want is for a friendly game of hockey to leave your child with two front teeth missing. Gum shields will ensure the best possible outcome from a hit to the face.  

What to consider when choosing a gum shield?

Remember that not all mouthguards are created equal. Some gum shields won’t properly protect your child or might be uncomfortable to wear. You want something that prioritises both protection and comfort. A personalised fit is always preferable, but not essential.

One size definitely won’t fit all. As your child grows, inevitably you’ll have to replace their mouthguard. But it’s a small investment that’s worthwhile for the protection it provides.

You want something that’s easy to keep track of and doesn’t get lost in the depths of the kit bag! Maybe choose a bright colour, or one that comes in a case that’s easy to spot. Also, if your mouthguard doesn’t come in a case, buy one to maintain hygiene and prevent any damage while in the bag.

What if my child wears braces?

There are gum shields specifically designed to fit around braces. If your child wears braces, they’re even more prone to injury as the wires might snap and cut into the gums. Not only is it more expensive to repair the braces themselves, but you’re also looking at more dental trauma.

Mouthguards are a simple expense that’ll bring you peace of mind and reduce your child’s potential of sustaining an injury while playing sports. But it’s not enough to just buy them a mouthguard. You also want to teach your child the importance of mouth protection so they always feel motivated to wear it.

Taking part in a sport brings so many benefits, so give yourself the peace of mind of protection and comfort. Whether for you or your loved one, OPRO mouthguards come in designs to suit everyone’s style and never compromise on protection. Shop our full range here.