One of the common sports injuries and the one with the biggest medical bill is damaged teeth. The American Dental Association reports that athletes who don’t wear a mouth guard are 60 times likelier to suffer an injury than those who wear one.
A mouth guard should be considered as important as any other sporting gear that sports people should not go into the field without wearing. For instance, a soccer player would not think about going to the field without shin guards, and neither would a football player enter without pads. Both adults and children suffer dental injuries, which is why professional athletes should play safe by wearing mouth guards during sporting activities.
What is a mouth guard?
It is an oral appliance that is made using soft plastic and is used to protect your gums and teeth from sustaining injuries. Since it is for cushioning purposes, it ought to fit well over your teeth. An effective teeth guard acts as a “crash helmet” for jaws and teeth.
Which sports are mouth guards necessary?
Teeth guards are mandatory in some sports such as football, boxing, and hockey. Other sports that the ADA recommends custom mouth guards are:
– Field hockey
– Ice hockey
– Martial arts
Benefits of wearing a mouth guard in sports
Dental injuries are painful and costly to treat. The best part is that avoiding these injuries is easy. Here are the common mouth injuries that a teeth guard would help you to prevent.
1. Mouth guards prevent avulsions
An avulsion is when an entire tooth is knocked out, both the root and the enamel. A displaced tooth requires re-implantation or replacement by a dentist. When playing full contact games like hockey and football, you should always focus on protecting against harm to prevent your teeth from being knocked off.
If your tooth is displaced when playing sports, make sure you don’t touch the root and that you seek dental assistance right away. Consider rinsing the tooth using water and place it in the socket or between your gums and your cheek to keep it safe for implanting.
Wearing a mouth guard can help prevent teeth displacements from happening.
2. Mouth guards hold everything in place
A luxation, extruded tooth or a lateral displacement refers to when a tooth remains in its socket but the wrong position. An extruded tooth is one that sits at a higher place than the other teeth. A lateral displacement occurs when the tooth is pushed back or pulled forward. The type of luxation determines the nature and extent of care you will require. Sometimes the dentist will reposition the tooth while in other instances further procedures are necessary.
A mouth guard works on keeping your gums, teeth, chin, and tongue in place. In case you are hit in the mouth by a ball or another player, the guard acts as a cushion to protect you from lacerations. It also keeps concussions at a minimum. Regardless of how much you have knocked around, your teeth will not be knocked off.
3. Mouth guards help prevent fractures
It is common to see teeth breaking or getting chipped especially in high contact sports. If a tooth fracture occurs, ensure you control bleeding y biting a towel or a cloth. You should work on keeping the tooth alive for replacing by dipping it inside milk or in gauze soaked in salty water.
It can be costly and sometimes impossible to save chipped teeth. So, it is better to prevent such injuries. When you wear a mouth guard properly, the teeth will be well supported and aren’t exposed when heavy contact occurs.
Are teeth guards important when wearing braces?
Braces can help prevent common injuries that occur in the sporting field such as loss and displacement of teeth. The use of a teeth guard provides an extra cushioning layer to avert injuries on the teeth. Therefore, using a guard alongside braces is recommended.
An orthodontic mouth guard should fit well onto the teeth and be reformable so that you can re-shape it to fit your teeth. The braces will guide it into a new position. As such, teeth guards made using gel feelings are appropriate when undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Tips for caring for your mouth guard
After buying the teeth guard, you should consider following these steps to ensure that it lasts a long time
– Proper storage
Place the teeth guard in a clean and well-ventilated container such as a durable plastic urn. Ensure the bottle is not in contact with extreme heat or direct sunlight.
– Keep the teeth guard clean
Mouth guards usually trap all kinds of germs and bacteria. Ensure you soak it in hydrogen peroxide and warm water after every instance of use.
– Examine the mouth guard
Mouth guards can rip, tear or lose their sturdiness. If your mouth guard is damaged or doesn’t fit properly, consider replacing it immediately. You may want to consider having a custom teeth guard because it is designed specifically for your dental formula and wouldn’t lose its grip easily.
Don’t lose your smile while you play
Sports safety is crucial. Whenever you or your child steps in the field or court, you should ensure that they wear a teeth guard so that they can protect their smile. Custom-fit mouth guards are recommended for sporting activities. They are designed with the wearer in mind.