The Risks of Children Playing Sports Without Mouth Guards

September 20, 2018

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Sports can be incredibly fun for children, but they also put them at risk for injury. The severity of a mouth injury is much greater when an accident occurs and there was not a mouth guard in place. Here’s what your child risks when they play sports without a mouth guard.

1 – Broken Teeth 

Teeth are hard, but they are also brittle. Playing sports without a mouth guard puts teeth at risk of taking a hard blow without any cushioning.  This can cause teeth to crack or fracture. A mouth guard helps cushion the teeth from potential blows, and decreases the risk of potential damage.

2 – Jaw Injuries

Jaw injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports.  Mouth guards can help prevent them or greatly reduce their severity. Mouth guards help cushion and reduce the amount of shock the upper and lower jaw sustains during a hit.


Wearing a mouth guard can actually reduce the risk of sustaining a concussion while playing sports. One study found that mouth guards can reduce overall cranial impact by 50% when sustaining a blow to the chin or jaw.

4 – Lacerated Lips and Cheeks 

Teeth are designed to chew and process food for our systems to absorb. It’s no surprise, then, that teeth can do real damage to cheeks and lips if left uncoveredMouth guards help protect soft tissues from accidental bites that can puncture or lacerate the skin.

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How do Mouth Guards Work?

Mouth guards – sometimes called athletic guards – work by properly positioning the upper and lower jaw, providing a cushion for the teeth, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events per year. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.

Which Sports Require Mouth Guards?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends wearing mouth guards for these popular sports: basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wrestling, among others.  If you’re unsure about whether or not your child is required to wear a mouth guard, consult our office.

Ask Us about Mouth Guards

We want to help you keep your child safe while they’re playing sports, so ask our office about a mouth guard for your child. Together, we can help them enjoy the sport they love and keep their teeth safe from injury.

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