Protect Your Teeth While Playing Sports
Types of Mouth Guards Available
Sports mouth guards vary regarding cost, comfort, and effectiveness. An ideal mouth guard is durable, resilient, and comfortable. It should fit properly, be easy to clean, and should not affect your ability to breathe.
Here are the basic categories of sports mouth guards on the market:
Stock mouth guards (complimentary with orthodontic treatment)
Boil-and-bite sports mouth guards
Custom-made sports mouth guards, designed and fit in our dental office
Less expensive sports store-bought mouth guards can initially make you feel as though you’re protected from impact when in fact their protection is rather limited.
The most common sports-related dental injuries include broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, injured cheeks or tongue and even broken jaws.
At Midpark Dental, we advise all participants of sporting activities, regardless of age or ability level, wear a mouth guard during participation to prevent dental emergencies.
Maintaining An Effective Sports Mouth Guard
The following are some questions you can ask to help determine if your sports mouth guard is effective:
Does the mouthguard offer sufficient protection and thickness in key areas?
Is the mouthpiece not overly bulky?
Does it fit comfortably?
Does it allow for natural breathing?
Is it tear-resistant?
Does it retain its form?
Is it odourless and tasteless?
Common, off the shelf mouth guards that are available in sporting goods stores may not meet any of these criteria—even if they are brand new! Also, once they have been used for a while by the athlete, and they are chewed out of their regular shape, this condition makes them even worse and offers even less protection. Despite this, over 90% of the mouth guards worn by athletes have been purchased at sporting goods stores.
Boil & Bite mouth guards do have the potential to fit better. However, the actual fitting process itself has a downside. When biting into the hot mouth guard when it is malleable, the thickness of the mouthguard can be reduced and with it so is the level of protection provided.
How Mouth Guards Protect Against Dental Injury
Sports mouth guards are dental appliances that fit over your teeth while you’re engaged in your sporting activity. If you are then struck in the mouth or jaw, the sports mouthguard helps to redistribute the force of that impact.
A mouth guard also provides a barrier between your teeth and the soft tissue in and around your mouth. Many studies have shown that mouth guards help prevent chipped or broken teeth and protect against cuts to lips, gums, and other soft tissue in the mouth area.
Why You Should Wear A Sports Mouth Guard
Although dental injuries are commonly associated generally with contact sports, such as football, rugby, hockey, and boxing, other dental and mouth injuries may also occur as a result of accidental contact with people or objects during other athletic activities, including skateboarding, basketball, soccer, squash, gymnastics, and Taekwon-Do. In essence, you need to be aware that all sports activities contain some element of risk that could result in a dental injury.
At Midpark Dental we always recommend that anyone who participates in athletic activities should protect their smile with high quality, proper fitting sports mouth guard. A properly fitted sports mouth guard absorbs the shock of impacts. The mouth guard also protects teeth against potential chips, cracks, fractures, knock-out, and damage. A properly fitted sports mouthguard is an important equipment investment, especially when considering the cost of the potential dental work required to repair damaged teeth.
For people who have to wear braces or other fixed orthodontic appliances, it is especially important to have a sports mouth guard that fits them properly. An impact to the mouth can damage the brackets and wires of the braces, and can also cause added cuts and tears to the soft tissue inside your mouth.