As school sports start for the year, most sports and players have gear or equipment they are required to have to participate. All contact sports should mandate mouthguards in their necessary equipment requirements. Protecting your mouth from hard hits from a ball or a collision with another player is essential. Mouthguards typically cover the top row of teeth, offering protection from any blow to that area. In addition, an athletic mouthguard can shield the lips, tongue, and cheeks from damage. They can also reduce the chance of concussion and protect the jaw joints against injury. The prospect of simply reducing the damage caused by a potential hit to the mouth makes a mouthguard well worth the cost.
Due to sports-related play, over 5 million teeth will be knocked out this year. The US National Collegiate Athletic Assoc. requires mouthguards for ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey and football. The American Dental Assoc. recommends using a mouthguard in 29 sports. The ADA estimates that athletic Mouthguards can prevent over 200,000 injuries.
What you need to know about Athletic Mouthguards
Players should have a mouthguard Whenever they enter a field to play a contact sport. Many leagues these days, especially youth leagues, require them. Different athletic mouthguards range in quality and price; each family should determine what works best for them. Some are pre-formed and ready to wear right out of the package. Others require a quick dunk in boiling water to form the individual’s bite. Your dentist can create custom-made athletic mouthguards. A local sporting goods store may have different options, colors and looks. Take a moment to read through the information on the box. Many offer a dental warranty. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to ensure proper fit and function. Keeping a backup mouthguard is brilliant, so you are always prepared.
Taking care of your athletic mouthguard and replacing it when necessary is just as important as a proper fit. Very young athletes may need their parents to check their mouthguards frequently. After use, an athletic mouthguard should be washed. Rinsing it with water and brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste is an excellent way to keep it clean. After use, the mouthguard should be allowed to dry. Keeping it in a warm, moist environment can encourage bacterial growth. Many come with a case to keep it safe and allow it to dry through air vents.
Athletic Mouthguards do not last forever. Periodically checking your mouthguard is critical. Should it become worn, chewed or misshaped, it’s time to replace it.
Playing sports is an excellent activity, but accidents happen. Keeping your mouth, teeth and jaw safe with an athletic mouthguard is essential. Mouthguards can also assist people in other ways, such as late-night teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Talking with your dentist about solutions for your dental health might offer you the solution. The entire Foundations of Health Dental Care team in St. Joseph, MO is rooting for your sports team and encourages you to make the wise choice of investing in an athletic mouthguard.
This article was originally published in March of 2018 and has been recently updated.