More than 51 million hours of school are lost each year by children due to dental-related illness.

Parents, you can help reduce the risk of your children missing school by making sure they brush and floss daily, visits a dentist twice each year, and wear sport-specific mouth guards when participating in athletic programs or events, whether it’s a school program or just a recreational activity.

How to stay on top of your kid's dental health

While football often requires players to wear mouth guards, many other sports do not.

It might surprise you to know that the top sports for dental injury are baseball and basketball, followed closely by soccer and gymnastics.

Any sport that might put your teeth or face at risk of bumping elbows, knees, other players, or equipment is a good sport for a mouth guard.

Boxing, skating, martial arts, horseback riding, hockey (field or ice), lacrosse… are all good places to start.

Mouth guards, also called known as mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw.

They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

They can also help reduce the occurrence or severity of a concussion, and may even help athletic performance as they keep the airway open.

Mouth guards come in three basic varieties:


These are made by your dentist to fit your mouth.

They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, they usually offer the best fit and wear.


These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear.

Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

Boil and bite.

These are available at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors as they adapt to the shape of your mouth.

Whichever model you choose, make sure your child wears one… and the 51 million hours of lost school will likely not include any from your family!