The importance of mouth guards

It is possible for teeth to quite easily break, even in non-contact sports such as gymnastics or even running. Most people would be surprised to discover that one-third of all dental injuries are sports related. Here is why wearing a mouth guard can protect your teeth from potential damage and expensive procedures.

What is a mouth guard?

A mouth guard is a laminate or soft plastic covering utilised during sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, cheeks, tongue, mouth and jaw. Using a mouth guard can prevent more than 200 000 annual oral injuries. A mouth guard is a fairly inexpensive device that has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in dental bills.

What injuries are you at risk of without a mouth guard?

There are a great number of potential injuries that could happen if athletes do not wear a mouth guard. These range from chipped or broken teeth to fractured crowns or bridgework, cheek and lip injuries, root damage to the teeth, fractured jaws and even concussions. It does not matter what sport you partake in, any athlete is at risk for oral injury which can easily be prevented by wearing a mouth guard.

When is a mouth guard mandatory?

It is a requirement to wear a mouth guard during collision sports such as boxing, hockey and football because of the extremely high risk of injury. Though it is not mandatory, you may want to consider wearing a mouth guard if you participate in incidental contact sports such as baseball, softball, basketball, wrestling, soccer and volleyball.

Do I need to wear a mouth guard with braces?

Those who have braces often think that they can no longer participate in sports, however, this is not true. A braces mouth guard custom made for your teeth can not only allow you to get back on the sports field but also prevent potential oral injury as well as damage to your braces.

Where can I get a mouth guard?

There are three main types of mouth guards that are available:

  • These come in small, medium and large sizes. They do not need to be boiled or custom fit, usually making them the least comfortable to wear due to the constant need to bite down and hold the mouth guard in place. They also offer the least protection out of all the mouth guards.
  • Boil and bite. These usually require that you boil them for 30 – 60 seconds and bite down on it so that it moulds around your teeth. Then you pop it in ice water so that it can retain the shape. If the guard doesn’t feel quite right then it is possible to repeat the steps until you get the correct fit. Boil and bite mouth guards can be found at most pharmacies and sporting goods stores.
  • Custom fitted. These are the most costly but also the most comfortable for athletes to wear. They can be made by your dentist or orthodontist from an impression of your teeth for a precise fit inside your mouth, offering the most protection possible.

Choose a guard that is best for you but remember that any mouth guard is better than none at all.

Why wear a mouth guard during exercise?

The potential risk of falling and losing a tooth could not only spell disaster for you but for your pocket too because there is a good chance that your dental insurance may not cover you, leaving you to pay massive bills out of your pocket.

Teeth are extremely fragile and can be knocked out more easily than you realise. And remember that a broken permanent tooth is for life. It will never grow back and you will have to get your veneers replaced and checked for the rest of your life. Artificial teeth also don’t fade the way regular teeth do, meaning that you will constantly battle to get the colours to match.

People who have had their teeth or even just one tooth knocked often wish they had taken the simple precaution of wearing a mouth guard.

A mouth guard is essential for all athletes. For more information about the right mouth guard for you, contact Crown Dental Group to book an appointment with a dentist.