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Importance of Athletes Wearing Mouthguards

Importance of Athletes Wearing Mouthguards

Mouthguards are one of the most widely used, but often forgotten, pieces of athletic safety equipment. Mouthguards are crucial to oral safety when participating in sports. When considering contact sports, people often think of using a helmet or padding, but it is often that the mouthguard is forgotten. Did you know that the US National Library of Medicine Institutes of Health reports that five million teeth are displaced from their socket yearly due to sports injuries? That is a lot of teeth! And yet these injuries are easily preventable with the use of a properly fitting mouthguard. 

What are the risks of not wearing a mouthguard?

As we enter into the autumn season, we are greeted by the start of many highly physical contact sports seasons, such as football, soccer, and so on. It is so important for athletes to not only wear a mouthguard, but a properly fitted one. Sports related injuries to the mouth can cause cuts and scrapes to the gum line and cheek tissue, displaced and broken teeth, broken bones in the jaw, and even brain damage. If the teeth are not properly protected, the impact to the mouth can be much more intense and cause brain damage via a concussion. Beyond these immediate effects of the trauma, these injuries can be long lasting as well. If the mouth is not properly protected, neck and jaw injuries can last forever and cause the athlete a lifetime of pain.

Who should be wearing a mouthguard?

Anyone who participates in any kind of recreational activities should wear a mouthguard. As non contact as you believe it might be, spontaneous injuries can still occur. Our very own Dr. Robert Stanley learned this the hard way last week. He was participating in a CrossFit competition when a weight hit him in the mouth and broke his tooth. Dr. Bobbi Stanley had to perform a filling on her husband to repair the broken tooth. He now swears to wear a mouthguard at all times and is encouraging all patients that play any kind of sport to do the same. The American Dental Association has worked to raise the awareness around adolescent athletes wearing mouthguards. They have campaigned for the video game companies that creates sports games to start showing the players wearing their mouthguards within the games as well. They are hoping that as children are playing increasingly popular video games, they will learn by seeing their idols in mouthguards that they too should be wearing a mouthguard when playing a physical contact sport.

Where can I get a mouthguard?

Mouthguards can be purchased at many sports themed stores. The American Dental Association warns that parents be sure to buy their child the mouthguards that need to be boiled and fitted to the child’s individual mouth and not the slip in one size fits all kind. Your dentist would also be more than happy to make you a custom fitting mouthguard in office. As always, our patients’ safety is our main concern, help us help you avoid other preventable procedures down the road, such as fillings, extractions, implants, and so on, by wearing a mouthguard during all recreational activities. If you are unsure if the mouthguard you are buying is correct, please feel free to call us for more information or make an appointment for us to make you a mouthguard.

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