Whether or not your child athlete needs a mouth guard depends on the sports that he or she participates in. Some sports, like lacrosse and hockey, require mouth guards. However, mouth guards are a wise equipment choice for many other sporting activities that do not necessarily require mouth guards. Dental experts recommend that your child wear a mouth guard for: • Ball-and-stick sports like baseball, softball, squash, and cricket • Competitive riding including cycling, horseback riding, and skateboarding • Hand-to-hand sports like boxing and martial arts • Field sports including football, rugby, and soccer • Outdoor activities including waterskiing, skiing, biking, and rollerblading If you aren't sure whether your child needs a mouth guard for a particular activity, think about the potential threats to your child's smile that could occur during game play. If a sport includes a high likelihood of impact incidents involving the face or head, outfit your child athlete with a mouth guard. Mouth guards typically only cover the top teeth. They should have a snug and firm fit but still allow for breathing and talking.