Custom-fitted mouthguards are essential but often overlooked safety tool/device in sports and recreational activities.
But according to the Australian Dental Association playing sports, particularly contact ones, without a mouth guard can be a recipe for dental disaster! Unfortunately, many of us realise the benefits of a mouthguard after injury has taken place instead of before.
And while exercise is a significant part of a balanced life, it is important that it be safe, particularly for children.
To ensure that mouthguards are used, Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) and the Australian Dental Association (ADA) have collaborated on a Mouth Guard Policy that makes mouth guards mandatory for registered players during training and games for sports including football, basketball, hockey, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, lacrosse, and netball.
Wearing a properly designed and constructed mouthguard while participating in sport/athletics helps protect against dental injuries. Players of any age involved in sports and activities in which there is a risk of injuries to the face or jaw should protect them with a properly fitted mouthguard.
Mouthguards safeguard against injury to the jaw and teeth.
- Dental injuries incurred during sports or athletics add up to more than 600,000 emergency room visits annually.
- Athletes are several times more likely to suffer tooth damage when not wearing a mouthguard.
- Estimates are that high-quality mouthguards protect against over 200,000 injuries per year.
- Athletes who use generic mouthguards are twice as likely to suffer a concussion than those who wear custom built mouthguards.
Let’s look at the basic functions of the mouthguard:
- Mouthguards prevent bruising and cut caused by impact.
- Mouthguards prevent loosened teeth, knocked out teeth and tooth fractures by cushioning the teeth.
- Opposite teeth are kept from clashing with each other.
- The lower jaw is protected, so impact does not fracture or damage the bone.
- Mouthguards are a preventative measure against neck injuries.
- Mouthguards help reduce brain injuries by preventing the jaws from violently clashing which can cause concussions.
- Mouthguards give athletes confidence by making them feel protected and comfortable.
The perfect mouth guard:
- Allows normal breathing and speaking.
- Provides a high degree of fit and comfort.
- Does not become dislodged during action.
- Is resilient, tear-resistant, odourless and tasteless.
- Is easy to clean and durable.
In most cases, mouthguards protect the upper teeth. However, if an athlete has a protruding jaw or wears braces or other dental appliances on their lower jaw their dentist may suggest a mouthguard for the lower teeth as well.
The Types Of Mouthguards
There are three kinds of mouthguards, running from ineffective (and in cases actively dangerous) to very effective. Here they are, from worst to first!
- Stock mouthguards are pre-made and ready to use. They can be found over the counter at most sporting goods stores and can also be ordered online. But they are not measured to your mouth, and they can cause complications in talking and breathing. Also, because they don’t fit correctly, they offer the lowest level of protection. Stock mouthguards are inexpensive, but they offer the least protection, which is why Main Beach Dental does not recommend them.
- Boil and Bite mouthguards are the most popular type of mouthguards. These mouthguards are constructed from a thermoplastics material, and they do provide higher levels of protection than stock mouthguards. ‘Boil and Bites’ are dunked in boiling water until they soften. Then they are placed in the mouth and shaped to the teeth.
- The third and best type of mouthguards are custom-made. They are individually designed according to a mould of your teeth and made to the specifications provided by a professional dentist. Custom-made mouthguards offer the greatest level of protection and comfort. These are the mouthguards that Main Beach Dental suggests for you or your athletic child.
Customised mouthguards are constructed from state-of-the-art materials and can feature fashion options to personalise the guard; the guard can have team colours, animal characteristics, or other designs to reflect the personality of the athlete.
Taking Care Of Your Mouth Guard
To optimise your mouthguard, take good care of it. Wash your mouthguard in lukewarm soapy water and rinse well before and after use. For maximum protection against germs brush your mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after every use.
Don’t chew on your mouth or keep removable retainers in your mouth with the guard in place. Finally, be vigilant and replace your mouth guard if it shows signs of age.
If you or your children are athletic, the best move is to visit us at Main Beach Dental and discuss the advantages of a custom-designed, personalised mouthguard.
Dental Care at Main Beach Dental
At Main Beach Dental your dental health is our number one priority. We are a team of highly trained registered dentists with impressive clinical skills who work together to provide you with comprehensive dental services.
We provide gentle, skilled care for all dental conditions and work with you to prevent disease, decay, and too many dental appointments in the future. Our commitment to our patients is dental health for a lifetime!
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