Protecting Your Smile While Playing Sports
|What to Do if You Have a Sports-Related Tooth or Mouth Injury|
Follow these tips if you experience an injury to a tooth or your mouth:
Mouthguards Protect Your Teeth from Sports-Related Injuries
An injury can happen in a second when you play sports. A fall or an elbow to your mouth can knock out or loosen teeth, resulting in pain and costly dental work. Mouthguards offer a simple way to prevent injuries to your teeth or mouth no matter what sport you enjoy.
What are Mouthguards?
Mouthguards are made of flexible plastic and fit over your top teeth, cushioning your teeth and mouth. Several types of mouthguards are available, including:
- Stock Mouthguards. These one-size-fits-all mouthguards are the least expensive option but they rarely truly fit everyone. If the fit is poor, it can be difficult to talk or breathe when you wear a stock mouthguard.
- Boil and Bite Mouthguards. Boil and bite mouthguards are softened in boiling water then placed in your mouth where they mold to the shape of your teeth. They offer a better fit than stock mouthguards, but aren't as comfortable as custom mouthguards.
- Custom Mouthguards. Custom mouthguards are created from an impression of your mouth. Since these mouthguards are created just for you, they offer superior fit and comfort.
- Mouthguards for Braces. Brace wearers need mouthguards that are a little wider than usual to accommodate the braces. Your dentist can recommend mouthguards that will work well with your braces. In some cases, mouthguards that cover both your upper and lower teeth may be needed.
Why Should I Wear a Mouthguard?
Mouthguards offer multiple benefits to athletes:
- They prevent tooth fractures and loose or knocked out teeth.
- Mouthguards reduce the risk of concussion by absorbing shock if you are hit in the mouth or jaw.
- They reduce the chance of fractures that occur when your upper and lower teeth come together forcefully.
- Mouthguards may prevent neck and jaw injuries from blows or falls.
- Mouthguards prevent cuts in your lips, cheeks and gums if you fall or experience mouth trauma.
- Wearing a mouthguard helps you avoid painful, expensive dental procedures that may need to be repeated at various points throughout your lifetime.
Who Needs to Wear Mouthguards?
Mouthguards are a good choice whether you play a team sport or an individual one. They are a smart choice if you play football, hockey, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball or baseball, but are equally important for skateboarders, rollerbladers, bicyclists or horseback riders. If there is any possibility that you could experience a fall or blow to the face while participating in a sport, it's a good idea to protect your teeth with a mouthguard. Mouthguards help prevent injuries in children or teens, but they are also an essential piece of sports equipment for adults.
How Do I Take Care of a Mouthguard?
Mouthguard care is easy. Rinse your mouthguard before and after you wear it and use soapy water to clean it. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly after washing. Store your mouthguard in its case to allow it to dry and to protect it from curious pets that just may decide it's the perfect chew toy. Don't leave your mouthguard out in the sun, as the heat from the sun can change the shape of your mouthguard. If your mouthguard is worn or does not fit well any longer, replace it immediately.
Do you want to protect your teeth from sports-related injuries? Call us today to schedule an appointment for your custom-made mouthguard.
American Dental Association: Mouthguards
Academy for Sports Dentistry: FAQs
Dentistry Today: Athletic Mouthguards: Indications, Types and Benefits, 12/01/05
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: Prevent Injuries First
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