Can you believe how close we are to the end of another summer? Before you know it, we will be sharing the roads with school buses once more. And along with the ritual of back to school, autumn brings with it the return of another Canadian ritual: hockey!

Like you, we are fans of this great, Canadian game. But I am sure most of us have that nagging concern in the back of our minds…what if our child gets hurt?

The truth is, you spend a lot of money on the best hockey equipment you can find, all in the hope of providing your son or daughter with as much protection from injury as possible. That means you look for the best shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves. The better the protection they offer, the happier you are.

However, one area that many parents fall short on is the mouth guard. Now, all kids have them as the league’s usually require them to wear one. So it is not that the kids lack a mouth guard. What they lack is a top quality mouth guard.

Most parents simply purchase an over-the-counter mouth guard that they find in their local hockey equipment store. Some of these products are fairly good and, when heated in boiling water, can be molded somewhat to fit your child’s mouth.

However, they are no substitute for a custom-fitted mouth guard!

Your dentist can take a mold of your child’s mouth so that a mouth guard can be fitted that specifically takes into consideration how his/her teeth come together. That way, you can have a mouth guard specifically designed to reduce the risk of dental trauma for your child, rather than a one-size fits all solution.

It does cost more to have a custom-fitted mouth guard. But if you are prepared to invest in the best shoulder protection, why not adopt the same approach to protecting your child’s teeth!

The beauty is if your child is a multi-sport athlete, s/he can use the mouth guard for other sports. Like hockey, football usually mandates that mouth guard be worn by all players.

If you watch a lot of professional basketball, you see a lot of players there wearing mouth guards. If it is good enough for the pros, we believe it is good enough for your children!

So invest in getting the best mouth guard – talk to your dentist about a custom fitted one to maximize your child’s protection from sports related dental trauma.

Then you need to take proper care of it! Simply rinsing it under water after a game is not sufficient to remove the germs and bacteria that accumulate on a mouth guard. We recommend brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use. You should also soak it in a bacteria fighting mouthwash. Afterall, protecting the teeth from bacteria is just as important as protecting them from trauma.

So take a moment to contact your dentist and talk about a custom-fitted mouth guard. Because protecting young smiles from sports trauma is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon