Do you know that up to 39 percent of dental injuries occur while kids are playing sports – and of those injuries, 80 percent involve damage to one or both teeth? 1 No parent wants that to happen to his or her child.
In order to prevent dental injuries, well-fitted, custom-made mouthguards are essential for most sports – especially those that are high contact.
However, with any sport where there is any risk of a sudden jarring movement to the face or jaw, you should consider the use of a mouthguard. Many professional and non-professional athletes use custom mouth guards in sports even where it is not required.
If you participate in any of the following activities, the American Dental Association (ADA)2 and the Academy for Sports Dentistry3 recommend that you wear a properly fitted mouthguard:
- Equestrian events
- Extreme sports
- Field hockey
- Ice hockey
- Inline skating
- Martial arts
- Water polo
MORE THAN THE MOUTH– MOUTHGUARDS MAY HELP PROTECT AGAINST CONCUSSION
In addition to preventing injuries to the mouth, gums, and jaw, mouthguards also help protect the head. Properly fitted mouthguards can reduce the impact of a blow to the head or jaw – which may reduce the risk of concussion and/or loss of consciousness.
Mouthguards may help protect against:
- Dislodged or knocked out tooth/teeth
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Broken or chipped tooth/teeth
- Bitten or lacerated tongue or lip
- Jaw fracture
PROPER CARE OF A CUSTOM MOUTHGUARD
Taking good care of your mouthguard is crucial for maintaining its effectiveness and protection. Here are some tips to keep your mouthguard in good shape:
- After each use, clean it with cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
- Keep it in a sturdy, rigid container to prevent loss or damage
- Keep it away from high temperatures (heat can change its shape)
- Have your mouthguard checked regularly at your dentist appointments to make sure it fits correctly and offers maximum protection
- Continually check for wear and tear and replace if necessary
Though taking care of your mouthguard is important, and occasional replacements are necessary especially when your mouthguard is getting plenty of use. For some avid athletes, getting a new mouthguard after each season is appropriate. For others, a mouthguard can last up to a year. Mouthguard replacements may be more frequent for adolescents as their mouths are still growing and teeth are developing, which can alter the fit and effectiveness of the guard.
Using the proper mouthguard gives parents the piece of mind that their kids’ mouths are safe wherever they participate in sports and recreational activities.