Are Mouth Guards Really Necessary?
According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to have an injury to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouth guard. A mouth guard is designed to help buffer the mouth and teeth from trauma. It is also an important piece of gear that should not be overlooked during participation in sports.
Wearing a mouth guard is common in contact sports such as football, boxing, hockey and basketball, but a protective mouth guard can also be beneficial in non contact sports such as snow skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, soccer and bicycling.
There are 3 types of mouth guards to choose from:
1. Ready Made
2. Boil and Bite
3. Custom made by a dentist
When choosing a mouth guard, keep in mind that a custom made mouth guard from your dentist is designed to offer superior protection.
These guidelines can help you choose the right mouth guard:
Be sure that the mouth guard is comfortable and fits good.
Check for flexibility and resistance to tearing or ripping.
Make sure that the mouth guard doesn’t impair breathing.
Make sure that the mouth guard doesn’t confine speech.
Finally, be sure that it can be easily cleaned.
Taking Care of a Mouth Guard
After investing in a mouth guard, it is important to take care of it by following these tips:
Keep your mouth guard in a vented and sturdy container.
Rinse thoroughly before and after use or brush with a toothpaste and toothbrush.
Replace your mouth guard if it becomes worn out.
Never leave it in the sun or hot water.
On occasion, use cool soapy water to clean, being sure to rinse it thoroughly. Since studies have linked almost 1/3 of dental injuries to sports related activities, a mouth guard is an important piece of sports gear that should be chosen carefully and taken care of properly.