With the Super Bowl having just been played over the weekend, it is hard to believe that it has been a while since any of our kids would have played a game of football. And with the NHL just having started up, it may be hard to think that the winter minor hockey season is fast coming to an end.

For those of you who put the hockey gear aside for the summer and move on to other sports, it is quite common to retire the mouth guard until the next hockey season begins. However, it is our position that, as long as your child is playing most sports, a mouth guard should be considered an essential piece of equipment!

Hockey and football have been the most progressive in requiring young athletes to protect their teeth by wearing a mouth guard. In some respects, it is somewhat ironic that these two sports should be leaders in the use of mouth guards given the protection already provided by mandatory facial cages.

Fortunately, hockey and football have recognized that damage to the teeth, gums or tongue can still occur simply by virtue of the jarring force of impact when two young bodies collide.

What is perhaps harder to believe is that sports such as soccer or baseball, where no facial shield is required, do not require participants to wear mouth guards. Clearly, physical contact is not as big a part of soccer or baseball when compared to football and hockey.

Nonetheless, kids and objects can still fly around a field at pretty high rates of speed. That means incidental contact is extremely likely! In the absence of a face shield, a mouth guard may be all that you have to protect the teeth of your young child from serious injury.

Just consider the force of a collision between two young athletes, each weighing 100 pounds, and travelling towards each other at full speed! Or when a baseball is thrown across the infield, trying to make an out at first base but which may not be as accurate as we would like? How about a soccer ball kicked at full velocity and hurdling straight toward your young child’s face?

All of these are common instances in soccer and baseball. And the damage they can do to unprotected teeth is both extensive and costly.

Obviously, the use of a custom-fitted sports mouth guard is no guarantee of absolute protection for those teeth. But some protection is better than none. Reducing the damage from a collision may be enough to save your child’s teeth.

So talk to us at Rideau Dental Centre about what we can do to provide a custom-fitted mouth guard to your young athlete for summer sports! Because collisions happen in non-contact sports, and protecting your mouth is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon