Mouth guards can save on dental bills, protect children's smiles

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As the weather warms up spring sports are picking up for lots of children and teens.

Dentists in Central Virginia hope you'll be giving some thought to protecting your kids' smile.

It's pretty common knowledge to wear a helmet, especially in high contact sports, but whether your child is running the grid iron, scoring goals, or playing ball in the neighborhood, have you thought about protecting their teeth?

"It's not just the contact sports," said Dr. Chris Kondorossy, an area dentist.

He said in addition to worry about running into other people, a ball can easily hit children in the mouth, too.

"That's something we worry about a lot, too," said Kondorossy.

Millions of teeth are knocked out in youth sporting events each year. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that sports-related dental injuries account for more than 600,000 emergency room visits each year.

Kondorossy says he even saw a child recently with tooth damage from a sledding accident.

Dentists recommend getting your child a mouth guard to prevent injury.

"It actually helps protect the soft tissue, too ... if you take some hit to the face, you're not lacerating a gum, lacerating a lip," explained Kondorossy.

There are cheaper "boil and bite" mouth guards you can get from the store. For a few hundred dollars, you can often get one customized from a dentist, which could be especially helpful if your child has braces.

"What you're paying is the comfort, the exact fit to the teeth," said Kondorossy.

The bottom line, dentists say, mouth guards could save your family lots of money in dental bills and save your kid's smile.

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