Getting the Bite on Mouthguards
If you or your child is an athlete, you know how important it is to have the right protective gear. Typically that means having a helmet, knee pads, and shin guards. But did you know nearly 40 percent of all sports injuries involve the face? That’s where a mouthguard comes in. With a custom-made mouthguard from Serenity Dental’s Rocklin, CA office, you can protect your smile and your mouth, dramatically reducing the chance for sports-related oral injuries.
What is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard fits comfortably over your teeth and protects your smile, lips, tongue, face, and jaw. What’s more, research has shown that mouthguards can even help reduce the potential for concussions.
The benefits of wearing a mouthguard are obvious for certain athletes, including hockey players, boxers, and football players, but other kinds of athletes can benefit too, like bicyclists, gymnasts, and weightlifters. All this might sound unnecessary, but research shows that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related, and, because the face is so important for self-confidence and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than…toothless!
Types of Mouthguards
Ready-made mouthguards are inexpensive and can be readily found at sporting goods stores. Unfortunately, they’re not custom-fitted. They’re secured by closed jaws, which can make speaking and breathing difficult, and they may seem bulky and uncomfortable in your mouth.
For a solution that’s a better fit for your smile, consider mouth-formed mouthguards. One type made of acrylic fits securely over your teeth, but unfortunately, many have reported that these have an unpleasant taste or smell and can lose their flexibility over time. Another type, thermoplastic mouthguards, can easily be customized by heating them in hot water and then biting them, creating a custom fit. But even though thermoplastic mouthguards maintain their flexibility, they can feel bulky.
The best solution is a custom-made mouthguard. They’re made by a dentist or lab technician from an impression of your teeth and are comfortable, practical, and provide excellent protection from injury.
Before wearing your mouthguard, keep a few of these care tips in mind:
- Always wear your mouthguard during practices and games.
- Never chew on your mouthguard.
- Check your mouthguard for damage before use, and wash with cold water or mouthwash after use.
- Regularly clean your mouthguard with a toothpaste and toothbrush or soap and water.
- Store in a dry, perforated container.
- Do not place in direct sunlight or high temperatures.
ADA & ASD Advice
The American Dental Association and the Academy of Sports Dentistry recommend mouthguards for athletes who participate in:
- Field Hockey
- Shot Put
- Water Polo
- Ice Hockey
- Inline Skating
- Equestrian Events
- Field Events
- Martial Arts