Athletes Wearing Mouth Guards
With an estimated 20-25 million kids playing competitive sports these days, there are more injuries to the mouth than ever. The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reported that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth if they are not wearing a mouth guard. Not only do mouth guards prevent dental injuries, they have shown to prevent concussions, as well.
Why You Should Wear a Mouth Guard
- Custom mouth guards protect your teeth, gums, lips, and tongue from injuries.
- Studies have shown a reduced risk of getting a concussion while wearing a mouth guard.
- Over 600,000 emergency room visits a year are for dental related injuries.
- Injuries are common in sports with (possibly) unintentional elbow jabs, kicks, and falls. Mouth guards are often required for participation in formal settings.
- Mouth guards can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries a year.
- When custom made, mouth guards don’t restrict your breathing, performance, or your comfort while wearing one.
- Mouth guards can prevent orthodontic wires from breaking and cutting the inside of your mouth.
- Mouth guards are cheap compared to the price of restorations after getting your teeth broken or knocked out.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three types of mouth guards that you can use while playing sports. The first mouth guard is a stock protector in a generic one-size fits all model. These mouth guards are sold at most sporting goods stores and are relatively cheap. The downside to stock mouth guards is they are bulky, can make it difficult to breathe, and may shift position or fail to adequately cover teeth. Boil and bite mouth protectors can also be bought at sporting goods stores and are a better option than the stock mouth guards because they are placed in hot water and applied to your teeth for a more accurate fit. They can also be refitted. The best mouth guards are custom-fitted. These are individually designed to fit your teeth and are made at a dental office or laboratory out of sturdy material based on a physical or digital impression of your mouth.
Mouth guards are not only for children and teens playing sports; athletes of all ages and skill levels carry risk when engaged in physical activities. Skaters, gymnasts, cyclists, joggers, and free runners’ risk of ruinous dental injuries are also significantly reduced with proper dental protection. Remember, too, that mouth guards and their cases need to be cleaned and patted dry after each use.