Getting the Bite on Mouth Guards
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 mouth guard comes in. With a custom-made mouth guard from Serenity Dental’s Citrus Heights, CA office, you can protect your smile and your mouth, dramatically reducing the chance for sports-related oral injuries.
What is a Mouth Guard?
A mouth guard fits comfortably over your teeth and protects your smile, lips, tongue, face, and jaw. What’s more, research has shown that mouth guards can even help reduce the potential for concussions.
The benefits of wearing a mouth guard 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 Mouth Guards
Ready-Made Mouth guards
Ready-made mouth guards 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.
Mouth-Formed Mouth Guards
For a solution that’s a better fit for your smile, consider mouth-formed mouth guards. 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 mouth guards, can easily be customized by heating them in hot water and then biting them, creating a custom fit. But even though thermoplastic mouth guards maintain their flexibility, they can feel bulky.
Custom-Made Mouth Guards
The best solution is a custom-made mouth guard. 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.
Mouth Guard Care
Before wearing your mouthguard, keep a few of these care tips in mind:
- Always wear your mouth guard during practices and games.
- Never chew on your mouth guard.
- Check your mouth guard for damage before use, and wash with cold water or mouthwash after use.
- Regularly clean your mouth guard 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 mouth guards for athletes who participate in:
- Field Hockey
- Shot Put
- Water Polo
- Ice Hockey
- Inline Skating
- Equestrian Events
- Field Events
- Martial Arts