When and Why to Use Athletic Mouthguards
Whenever we play sports, we are inevitably taking some kind of risk in regards to our personal safety. From head injuries, to broken bones, there is a myriad of possible injuries that any athlete must accept. With so much padding and concern for ligaments and bones, many people often neglect to protect their teeth, despite dental injuries being extremely common, and only a relatively small number of people regularly use mouthguards in situations that would benefit from them.
For team sports, such as football or rugby, mouthguards are extremely important. Whenever we run the risk of trauma to our teeth, a mouthguard can help to prevent injury from a direct blow, as well as protecting our upper teeth when the lower jaw is suddenly forced upwards.
A mouthguard also acts to protect the tongue during such sudden impacts. If you play any kinds of sport not just so called contact sports a mouthguard is recommended. A fast, deflected cricket ball for example has been known to cause significant teeth damage as well as during sports practice and not just during games.
In the realm of martial arts, boxing, and wrestling, mouthguards are especially important, as these sports have a high risk of jaw fractures as well as teeth damage. During boxing, blows are taken directly to the face or mouth. A mouthguard will not only help prevent the jaw from being damaged, but will absorb some of the impact. Whether from a punch in boxing, or a head impact from wrestling and may help to reduce the amount of damage, received by the head.
It you have a mouthguard, then it’s important that you make sure you keep it clean, so that you are not compromising your dental hygiene by wearing it. Be sure to wash your mouthguard regularly by scrubbing it with a toothbrush. To keep the mouthguard from getting deformed, avoid leaving it in the sun, or putting it in hot places. If your mouthguard stops fitting correctly, it’s best to replace it and that should be done prior to every new season as a child's teeth have likely moved.
There are stock chemist mouthguards which are loosely fitting and although may be used as an emergency stopgap, custom fitted mouthguards made by your dentist are far superior. An impression of your mouth is taken and a model produced on which a modern layered or laminated mouthguard is fashioned that fits closely and which will be more comfortable.
At Chatswood Dental Care, over the years Dr Tim Hart has fashioned thousands of custom fitted mouthguards and in the process saved many, many teeth!
It is perhaps widely under appreciated just how vital a role dental mouthguards 'play' in safety during sports and it is only once a tooth is knocked out that we wish we'd been wearing one!