It’s always disappointing when a hero falls but very few have fallen as low as Lance Armstrong. His was a long, drawn out descent, prolonged by his lies. He was the icon of the cycling world, inspiring many people, especially children, to take up the sport. He created the Livestrong Foundation (formerly the Lance Armstrong Foundation) which later spun off Livestrong.com, a partner health and wellness website. “Mouth Guards for Cycling” is an article on Livestrong.com that explains the benefits of mouth guards particularly for cyclists. So where is Lance Armstrong’s mouth guard?
- 275,000 – kids’ bike injuries (nonfatal) per year
- 690 – kids injured daily in biking accidents
- 5-14 year olds – more kids in this age group go to emergency rooms for bike accidents than for any other sport
- 30% – of all oral injuries in children are from bike riding
Helmets are a Start
Helmets are wonderful safety equipment for cyclists and have been instrumental in reducing head and brain injuries. Unfortunately it’s estimated that only 15-25% of kids wear them. But helmets are not the only piece of safety equipment children should wear while biking.
Mouth guards have never received the attention they deserve, especially with their use in cycling. Both the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advise young athletes to wear mouth guards to:
- Protect not only teeth but also the tongue, lips, gums, etc. (soft tissues)
- Reduce the risk or severity of a concussion
- Help prevent injury to the jaw joints and neck
- Protect braces and other orthodontia
Mouth Guard Info
There are 3 types of mouth guards available: stock, “boil-and-bite”, and custom. Ideally a mouth guard should be comfortable, fit securely and not limit breathing while, at the same time, providing high power absorption and power distribution through expansion.
Stock mouth guards are the least expensive option but are really not an option as they don’t fit well, inhibit speech & breathing and are pretty uncomfortable. They also don’t offer much protection.
The semi-custom, boil-and-bite type are a much better option because they are reasonably priced and will fit much better than a stock mouth guard. A lot of athletic gear companies such as Under Armour are expanding into making mouth guards so it’s worth doing a little research to find the right one. Also, you’re not limited to buying them at the local drug store. Sporting goods stores are now stocking large selections of mouth guards.
The best type of mouth guard is custom made to fit the individual’s mouth. They offer the best fit and protection but also come with a higher price tag. Custom mouth guards are made by your dentist so check your dental insurance plan to see if it’s covered.
Mouth guards, like clothes and shoes, will be outgrown. You should check the fit at least once a year to make sure your child’s still fits.
The most important thing to remember is that a mouth guard will only work if it is used! Please encourage and enforce the use of all safety equipment: helmets, mouth guards, etc. for your children to keep injuries to a minimum.
Share Your Thoughts
Have a recommendation for a great mouth guard? A tip for getting kids to wear safety gear? Please tell us!
Wishing you a lifetime of healthy smiles,
Antoinette aka The Twooth Fairy