Courtesy of Hawaii Dental Service

With Hawaii schools back in session over the last year, many children are participating in team sports and activities, which means parents must take the steps to prevent accidents and dental injuries. Parents can prevent or reduce the impact of these sports injuries to the mouth with an athletic mouthguard.

It is estimated that players who don’t wear athletic mouthguards are 60 times more likely to suffer at least one cracked tooth than those who do. In some instances, mouthguards also reduce the likelihood of getting a concussion by cushioning and redistributing the force of sudden impacts. Mouthguards are recommended for any sport, not just contact sports. This includes, but is not limited to football, soccer, boxing, basketball, baseball, volleyball, wrestling, and more.

Pick the Right Mouthguard

There are many types of mouthguards on the market, and most that are off-the-shelf are relatively inexpensive. Depending on your child’s needs, you can also get a custom mouthguard fitted by your dentist; review your dental benefits plan to verify that athletic mouthguards are covered for your child. Ultimately, the most effective sports mouthguard is one that your child will wear regularly. Mouthguard types include stock (ready-made) mouthguards, which are the least expensive and available at sporting goods stores, mouth-formed (boil and bite) mouthguards that players can mold themselves, and custom-fitted mouthguards, which can be the most expensive option because these are fitted by a dentist to provide the best fit, comfort and efficiency.

What to Do When Your Child Has a Mouth Injury

Be sure to have your dentist’s phone number on hand and contact them in an emergency. Be familiar with your coverage for emergency dental visits and treatment of broken, cracked or knocked-out teeth. It also helps to have a backup dentist that is available after hours just in case your primary dentist isn’t available.

Mouthguard Pilot Program for Hawaii Athletic Leagues

Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) launched a mouthguard pilot program at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year by donating nearly 10,000 fitted Game On® mouthguards to high school athletics programs across the State of Hawaii and select sports athletes at public, private and charter schools. The program continues through 2022 and is being expanded to provide mouthguards to other athletics programs, including collegiate and youth leagues. Parents and athletes may contact their coach or school’s athletic director or trainer to learn about getting a sports mouthguard to protect themselves from injury. To learn more, visit