Mouthguards Can Prevent Serious Oral Injuries During Sports
If you are an athlete playing a contact sport, you should be wearing a mouthguard, whether you wear braces or not.
By Dr. Santiago Surillo | San Diego Kids Dentist
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to smile without your front teeth? If you play sports, but don’t wear a mouthguard, that could be a real possibility. Sports injuries to the face can cause damage to your teeth, cheeks, tongue and lips. But a mouthguard can offer protection.
“You wouldn’t head out for a football game without your helmet and pads, or a baseball game without your bat and glove, and likewise, you shouldn’t step on the field without your mouthguard,” says Dr. Santiago Surillo, a pediatric dentist and orthodontist in San Diego. “A properly fitting mouthguard should be an essential piece of your equipment to protect your teeth. And it shouldn’t just be limited to athletes playing contact sports.”
The American Dental Association recognizes the opportunity sports provide for injury, and suggests wearing a mouthguard if you play any of the following sports:
Gymnastics, basketball, bicycling, boxing, field hockey, football, handball, ice hockey, inline skating, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shotput, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, softball, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, wrestling.
Even sports that aren’t labeled contact sports can still pose a risk for mouth injuries. The sports above, and many others, can still lead to crack or broken teeth, fractured dental work, lip and cheek injuries, fractured jaws, and concussions. Many oral injuries can be prevented with properly fitting mouthguards.
There are three standard types of mouthguards. Ready-made mouthguards can be purchased at any sporting goods stores. Mouth-formed boil-and-bite mouthguards are also an option, however, the best option to provide the most protection is a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist or orthodontist.
A mouthguard that is custom-made by your dentist can be tailored to fit your mouth and your individual needs. It is important that your mouthguard not only fit properly, but that it is resistant to tearing, comfortable and strong.
“One study performed found that 75% of oral injuries in high school athletes occurred when mouthguards weren’t worn,” says Dr. Surillo. “And nearly 40% of those were in basketball and baseball players, sports that aren’t commonly associated with wearing mouthguards.”
Additionally, 56% of concussions happened when mouthguards weren’t worn.
“A mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients who are wearing braces,” says Dr. Surillo. “Getting hit in the face while wearing braces can break your brackets and cause additional injury to your mouth. The mouthguard can protect you and provide an additional barrier between the inside of your mouth and the braces, protecting you should you suffer any sort of blow to the face.”
If you are an athlete who doesn’t currently use a mouthguard, or who uses a store-bought one, it might be time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Surillo of San Diego Kids Dentist to discover what a custom-made mouthguard can do for you. Call today at 619-461-6166 to schedule an appointment.