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Don’t Get Kicked in the Teeth! The Importance of Mouthguards in Sports Safety
Posted on February 13th, 2020
It’s no secret that residents of Maryland love sports! The folks around here work hard and play just as hard, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, or numerous other high-impact sports that can cause harm to your family’s mouths—at least 13% of all oral injuries happen during sports activities. Dr. Erin Wolfson wants you to know how to keep your teeth out of harm’s way and still enjoy a good game, so please read on to learn how to win big with a safe, healthy smile!
It’s About More than Mouthguards
We know what you’re thinking, mouthguards are the key to staying safe on the field, right? Yes, they are a big part of it, but it takes more than just a mouthguard to keep your kids from getting a chipped tooth while scoring a touchdown. Sports safety for oral health means getting the right mouthguard and wearing it the right way. After all, the best defense is a good offense!
Do I Need a Mouthguard?
If you or a member of your family is considering mouth protection to defend against injuries to the mouth and face, there are a few things you should know about your options. Hamilton Family Dentistry is always happy to help the people of Baltimore, so please contact us if you’d like to discuss your options. In the meantime, here are a couple of facts about mouthguards:
Mouthguards are effective in every contact sport, but they are required by schools for football, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse. Basketball and baseball have the highest incidence rate of dental injuries, likely because they do not require mouth protection during play. The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for 29 sports! These include martial arts, gymnastics, equestrian sports, and skateboarding. When in doubt, get a mouthguard – better safe than sorry!
Athletes without mouth protectors are 60 times more likely to incur an injury to the teeth. According to the American Dental Association, mouthguards are effective because they create a buffer that helps protect teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongues from impact injuries. They may also play a role in preventing and/or limiting damage from concussions.
Choosing and Using the Right Mouthguard
There are three different kinds of mouth protectors available—stock, boil and bite, and custom-fit. Stock mouthguards are the least expensive and the easiest to find, but they offer no customization, can cause irritation, and even fall out during sports activities. Boil and bite mouth protectors are made of a special plastic that becomes malleable when boiled, and can then be fitted. Custom-fit mouthguards are recommended because they are the highest quality option, offering the most protection and comfort. Your Baltimore dentist will create a perfectly fitted, custom mouth protector for you. Custom mouthguards are the most expensive type, but also the only option that offers comprehensive oral safety during sports play and practice.
How are Mouthguards Used?
First things first, make sure to wear it during all sports activities, including practice, scrimmages, and games. After each use, clean the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste. It should also be cleaned occasionally with soap and water. Store the mouthguard in a ventilated container, and never leave it in direct sunlight.
Sports Safety Across the Board
How can you keep your mouth safe? The most important thing is to know which activities pose risk and come prepared with any necessary protective equipment. Dr. Wolfson and our team want everyone to enjoy the game without fearing for their teeth, so contact us today with any questions!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.