Play sports? You may want to consider wearing a mouth guard.
Do you or your children participate in sports? Then read on. As an athlete or a parent, you’ve probably heard about mouth guards, the flexible piece of plastic you can wear over your teeth. But a mouth guard is more than next year’s fashion statement, mouth guards significantly minimize the risk of sports injuries to the mouth and jaw. And while it’s obvious (and required) to wear a mouth guard during collision and contact sports like ice hockey, football or lacrosse, you may not be aware of the benefits that wearing a mouth guard can provide in during other sports too. In fact, the ADA encourages wearing a mouth guard for a variety of sports and activities, even though some may be considered a “non-contact” or not required. Some of these include: basketball, boxing, gymnastics, racquetball, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. Basically any time there is a risk of face contact with other people or surfaces, a mouth guard can greatly reduce chance of suffering a dental injury.
So even though you or your children may not think a mouth guard is the coolest thing to wear, there are three big advantages to wearing a mouth guard that may quickly change your mind.
A mouth guard will:
1). Protect your teeth.
Without a mouth guard, your teeth are more likely to be chipped, broken teeth or even get knocked out (tooth loss). Protecting your teeth now can also save on immediate dental expenses or procedures that may come up down the road. These include: root canals, dental crowns, bridges and splinting or TMJ treatments.
2). Protect your face and mouth.
Wearing a mouth guard can prevent bruising or cuts to the lip, tongue or face, especially those who have braces or orthodontic appliances.
3). Protect against other serious injuries.
This includes root, bone damage and jaw fractures. Mouth guards can help avoid a situation where the lower jaw jams into the upper jaw. Also, mouth guards may reduce the severity of concussions by acting as a buffer to a blow.
For more information about protecting your teeth during sports or athletic activities, talk to your dentist at your next appointment. They will provide the best knowledge to help you select the most effective protection for your specific needs.