Athletic Mouthguards Save Smiles
- November 1, 2017
Football season may be winding down, but that’s no reason to get rid of your athletic mouthguards.
The start of the winter sports season is a good time to make sure you have the right kind of mouthguard. Among 13- to 17-years olds, basketball players suffer more dental injuries than participants in any other sport. But basketball is hardly the only sports in which athletes should be wearing protective mouthguards.
That’s according to the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the Academy for Sports Dentistry.
If someone in your family is getting ready for basketball, gymnastics, or wrestling this winter, then we encourage you to visit Fox Family Dentistry now. We can make custom-fitted mouthguards to protect your favorite smiles at our office in Burke, VA.
The Right Fit Means Better Protection
The ADA, AAPD, and the other organizations mentioned earlier recommend that any mouthguard should meet these criteria:
□ It is comfortable to wear.
□ It is well-fitted for the athlete.
□ It does not restrict breathing.
□ It resists tearing.
□ It is easy to clean.
You can find mouthguards at sporting goods departments and stores, but they usually don’t check all the boxes above.
They are generally tear resistant and easy to clean, and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be molded somewhat to the shape of a person’s teeth.
They are often bulky, too, which can make them uncomfortable to wear. And for this reason, the mouthguards can interfere with breathing and speaking as well. (We think most coaches would agree that communication is important in any team sport.)
This also is why custom-fitted athletic mouthguards, which we can make at our office, are recommended by dental professionals.
They start with us taking an impression of your or your loved ones’ teeth. This allows us to create a mold, which then allows us to make a mouthguard that is designed just for you. As a result, this will be less bulky and provide better protection for your teeth.
This kind of mouthguard checks all the boxes on the list above, which is why we recommend getting one if you play any high-impact sport.
Who Needs An Athletic Mouthguard?
According to the professional dental organizations mentioned above, anyone who plays high-impact sports should be wearing a protective mouthguard.
So what defines a high-impact sport?
Changing speeds and directions, jumping, flying objects (balls, pucks, etc.), and contact between athletes are all factors that warrant protecting your teeth.
By these criteria, it’s easy to see that basketball, football, and wrestling fit the bill. But people often overlook sports such as baseball, skateboarding, softball, soccer, and volleyball.
This isn’t a complete list, but we think it will give you a better idea of whether you or someone you care about should be wearing a mouthguard during their sport of choice.
Taking Care Of Your Mouthguard
When you get a mouthguard, you want it to last as long as possible. With that in mind, the ADA has put together some recommendations for best caring for your mouthguard. We hope you will follow them.
First, you should rinse your mouthguard before and after each game or practice. From time to time, you should also clean it with cool, soapy water.
Second, keep your mouthguard in a protective case when you are transporting it to or from games. This case should have holes that allow the mouthguard to dry out.
Do NOT wash your mouthguard in hot water or store it in a hot place. This can cause the mouthguard to lose its shape, which can make it uncomfortable to wear.
And before and after each use, check the mouthguard for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any problems, you should replace your mouthguard, since damage can reduce its effectiveness.
Keep Smiling When The Games Are Over
It doesn’t matter if you are youth league star, a member of a high school team, or part of a recreational league. You can get injured when you step on the court or field. A custom-fitted athletic mouthguard could be the difference between a swollen lip and a broken or lost tooth.