Best mouth guards to protect your child's pearly whites

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Back to school often means back to sports for kids across Southeast Texas. For many contact sports like basketball or football, the little ones need a good mouth guard to protect their pearly whites.

Parents have three options, according to experts. There is the ready-made option, the boil-and-bite choice and a custom made mouth guard by a dentist.

Houston dentist Dr. Terri Alani told Eyewitness News if parents can afford the added cost of a custom made mouth guard, those guards provide the best protection. She stressed studies now suggest mouth guards help prevent concussions as well as safeguard teeth.

"When you get hit it's not just about displacing one of your teeth, it's about absorbing shock in the jaw also stabilizing the head and neck. It's important to have a properly fitted mouth guard," said Dr. Alani. "Just like you wear a helmet when you ride a bike, you wear a seat belt when you're in a car, we want you to wear a properly fitted mouth guard when you play athletics."

Store bought mouth guards can run between $10 and $50. Custom made mouth guards can cost more than $100.

Coach Chris Thornton at Memorial Middle School knows a thing or two about life on the basketball court or the football field. He told Eyewitness News you can't underestimate the importance of good mouth protection.

"Obviously you could have your teeth knocked out. No one wants to go through that especially if you have braces. The contact could cause tearing of the lips, bleeding, and that can cause a lot of damage as well," said Coach Thornton. "It is one of the steps you can take as a parent to protect your kids. You've only got one set of teeth so to speak."

As you choose the right mouth guard for your child, it's always best to consultant your family dentist.
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