If you or your kid is about to participate in a sports activity, wearing a mouthguard is something that you shouldn’t skip. Mouthguards protect teeth from possible injuries that could break, chip, or even get the tooth knocked out during sports. These oral devices are the simplest and the most effective way you can do to protect your teeth and smile.

Why should you wear a mouthguard during sports?

A mouthguard absorbs and neutralizes the force of an impact to the mouth and specifically your teeth, protecting teeth from breaking and other serious dental injuries. If you hop on your bike for a ride or you are regularly taking part in high-contact sports, a mouthguard will help safeguard your teeth while you enjoy your game.

Here is why mouthguards are a necessity for your oral health during sports:   

Protect your teeth and prevent oral injuries

Like all parts of the body, your teeth and mouth can be prone to sports injury. So, mouthguards protect your teeth from damage. Teeth can easily break and chip once there is a fall or blow to the mouth from contacts or objects used in sports that directly hit you in the face. Mouthguards are worn over the top teeth not only to protect teeth from chipping or breaking but also to prevent other damage to the mouth and jaw.

Prevent risk of teeth getting knocked out and serious fractures

One of the main reasons that your dentist recommends wearing a mouthguard for sports activity is the prevention of serious tooth and oral bone fractures. Mouthguards reduce the impact of a strike to the teeth and jaw significantly.

Sometimes, athletes may suffer seriously and get one of their teeth knocked out or displaced from its place. This type of rare dental trauma is called avulsion. An avulsed tooth requires an emergency dental visit to manage the situation. Also, it is highly important to have immediate first aid at the time to replant the tooth in the socket in order to save the tooth.

A tooth root fracture is another dental injury to be aware of because it may not always be obvious when it happens. However, infection in the dental pulp and the abscessed tooth are the possible results, depending on whether the crack in the tooth root may have extended deeper. The symptoms can be painful toothache and sensitivity in the affected tooth.

By wearing a mouthguard while you are exercising, you can easily minimize such dental risks and prevent the damage that can cost you the loss of the tooth.

Save you money

Getting a mouthguard not only protects your teeth and jaw from serious injuries but also is the best investment to prevent expensive dental procedures.

In the absence of a mouthguard during sports, there is no shield of protection for your teeth anymore. Therefore, you are more likely to be at risk of dental damage, if not bruising, or cuts in your lip, and inner soft tissues in your mouth.

Even a simple case of chipped or cracked tooth impacts your oral health, smile, and ability to eat. You need to visit a dentist for restoration treatment. While minor chipping and breaking require composite bonding, you will need a dental crown to restore a seriously broken-down tooth.

And in more serious injuries, your dentist should perform a root canal or oral surgery. Sometimes, the affected tooth may not be salvaged and you end up losing and extraction of your tooth, which should be replaced with a dental implant. This can increase your dental cost significantly.

What are the different types of mouthguards?

There are three types of mouthguards. Talk to your dentist before getting your sports mouthguards. No matter what sport activity you do, your mouthguard should be comfortable, have great protection, and fit properly on your teeth. The guard you get should not impede your breathing or talking and be tear-resistant and tough against wear and tear.

The three types of mouthguards are:

Custom-made mouthguards

Whether you are an athlete or just need a night guard for your nighttime bruxism (teeth grinding), custom-made mouthguards are the best option. These are designed and made specifically for your teeth and mouth size.

Your dentist makes an impression of your teeth and sends it to the lab to create your mouthguard. They provide the safest, the most protection, and the best fit for a mouthguard. Although the custom-made mouthguards require that you visit a dentist, they are worth the cost.

Boil-and-bite mouthguards

Boil-and-bite mouthguards come as a soft material. Athletes can heat up the material in boiling water and then bite into it to get their customized dental size.

These over-the-counter mouthguards are available at any sporting goods store. They provide better fit and comfort than stock mouthguards. However, since there is no dentist intervention and professional process in creating them, you cannot expect the protection, comfort, and fit you have with the custom-made guards.

Stock mouthguards

Stock mouthguards are one-size-fits-all mouthguards which are pre-made and ready to wear. Because of this, these guards are often bulky in the mouth and they don’t fit properly. They may also create problems with your breathing and speaking.

Which sports require mouthguards?

When it comes to mouthguard use, you might think of contact sports such as rugby or hockey. However, every athlete of any age from young children to adults should weigh the risk of facial injury and wear a mouthguard even in non-contact sports like skiing or gymnastics. These are sports where you may still injure your teeth because of the risk of a fall or accident.

For this, American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a custom-fitted mouthguard for both children and adults in contact sports, non-contact sports, and high-velocity activities in which the risk of dental injury is high. Here are some of those sports:

Contact sports

  • Martial Arts
  • Boxing
  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Water polo
  • Wrestling

Limited contact and more sports

  • Skateboarding
  • Baseball
  • Skiing
  • Gymnastics
  • Bicycling
  • Weightlifting
  • Acrobatics

Conclusion

Mouthguards play a vital role in reducing mouth-related injuries. You and your child should consider wearing a mouthguard if you play sports or do other recreational activities. This way, you protect your teeth and minimize the severity of dental injuries.

You also need to clean your mouthguard each time before using the device. It is also important to replace your mouthguard over time, and if there are signs of wear and tear, as it may not may not work properly.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of mouthguards in sports?

Mouthguards help create a soft barrier cushioning the impact or blow to the face, reducing the risk of broken and knocked-out teeth and injuries to tongue, lips, or jaw.

Do I need a mouthguard just for contact sports?

You need to wear a mouthguard not only for high-contact sports like rugby or boxing, but also for limited-contact and non-contact sports that could cause you a dental injury. Thus, according to the American Dental Association, mouthguards are required for football or martial arts as well as sports like skiing, gymnastics, or bicycling.

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