Don't be the victim of a preventable injury: wear a mouth
guard. While mouth guards are not mandatory equipment in all
sports, their worth is indisputable. Dentists see many oral
and facial injuries that might have been prevented by the
use of a mouth guard.
Facial injuries in nearly every sport can result in damage
to teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Mouth guards cushion blows
to the face and neck. A mouth guard should be part of every
athlete's gear, no matter the sport. It's better to play it
safe than face a devastating and painful oral injury.
Even adults are not free from the dangers of mouth injuries.
Dentist treat many trauma injuries in weekend athletes. Whatever
your age or sport, mouth guards are an important part of sports
safety and your exercise routine. Do what you can to protect
your smile and preserve your health.
Do's and Don'ts
- Do wear a mouth guard at all times when playing sports.
- Do inform yourself about the most common oral injuries.
- Do wear a mouth guard custom-fitted by your dentist, especially
if you wear fixes dental appliances such as braces or bridgework.
- Do not wear removable appliances (retainers, bridge, or
complete or partial dentures) when playing sports.
What are your choices?
There are three types of mouth guards: custom-made, mouth-formed
and ready-made. Custom-made mouth guards are professionally
designed by your dentist from a cast model of your teeth.
Because they are designed to cover all back teeth and cushion
the entire jaw, they can prevent concussions caused by blows
to the chin. Custom guards may be slightly more expensive
than commercially produced mouthpieces, but they offer the
best possible fit and protection. They are more secure in
the mouth and do not interfere with speech or breathing. Calling
plays or formations, for instance, will not be impeded by
Mouth-formed guards, also called "boil and bite,"
should also be fitted by your dentist. This is generally done
by shaping a soft pre-formed guard to the contours of the
teeth and allowing it to harden. However, these devices are
difficult to design for athletes who wear braces and can become
brittle after prolonged use.
Ready-made, commercial mouth guards can be purchased at most
sporting goods stores and are made of rubber or polyvinyl.
They are the least expensive but also the least effective.
Keep your mouth guard in top shape by rinsing it with water
or mouthwash after each use and allowing it to air-dry. With
proper care, it should last the length of a season or longer.