The Importance of Wearing a Mouthguard when Playing Sports

While sports protection has certainly improved over the last couple of decades, there’s still some improvement to go to ensure our kids are safe when playing sports. Some sports are obviously more prone to injury than others, and it’s great to see kids wearing shin guards, pads, and helmets when playing sports. But, what about their teeth and jaws? While the use of mouthguards is increasing as a whole, some sports simply overlook it such as basketball, baseball, and soccer.

Of course, wearing a mouthguard when undertaking orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign or braces is mandatory, but all kids should be wearing mouthguards to protect their pearly whites. A mouthguard is vital for safety and is proven to protect kids and adults against various dental injuries that are common within certain types of sports. Many orthodontic clinics treat dental injuries from people playing a range of sports where mouthguards aren’t required and it’s time to make a change.

Studies from the American Dental Association has indicated that athletes are 60 times more likely to sustain dental injuries if they don’t wear mouth protection. To help you preserve the smiles of your loved ones, today we’ll be discussing sports mouthguards in more detail.

Why are mouthguards important?

Mouthguards protect the teeth and jaws of athletes from traumatic injuries such as chipped teeth, broken teeth, root fractures, and luxation (where the tooth is still intact but in the wrong position). Along with this, a mouthguard also acts as a barrier between the teeth and/or braces and the soft tissue within the mouth like your cheeks, tongue, and lips which are vulnerable to cuts and abrasions. While they don’t prevent serious jaw injuries, mouthguards go a long way to soften the force of any blows to the head.

Which sports should kids wear mouthguards?

Ideally, kids should be wearing mouthguards for all types of contact sports, including AFL, rugby, boxing, hockey, and soccer. Some contact sports require athletes to wear mouthguards while others don’t, but even non-contact sports like skateboarding and basketball experience plenty of dental injuries that could have been prevented. Essentially, any sport where athletes can potentially injure their mouth or jaw, a mouthguard should be worn. Additionally, any sports played by athletes undertaking Invisalign or braces treatment, a mouthguard must be worn to protect their teeth and their orthodontic appliance.

What type of mouthguards are available?

There are three basic types of mouthguards which are available to athletes:

  1. Standard mouthguards – These mouthguards are pre-formed and ready to wear, however they come in a range of sizes so make sure you choose the correct size to maximise protection and to ensure your breathing and talking aren’t obstructed.
  1. Boil & bite mouthguards – These mouthguards are boiled in water to make them pliable and then moulded to the shape of your teeth. They can be purchased from most sports store, however be careful that they don’t stick to your braces when moulding them!
  1. Custom mouthguards – While they are typically more expensive than the other two options, they offer the greatest protection against injuries. Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and create your mouthguard in either flexible or semi-ridge material depending on your needs.

Most mouthguards are designed to protect the upper teeth but depending on the type of sport your kid plays, you can get a mouthguard for the lower teeth as well. A good mouthguard will be comfortable, won’t come out during activity, and doesn’t obstruct breathing or speech.

Even though it’s not mandatory to wear a mouthguard for all contact sports, protecting your kids’ teeth and jaws have never been easier. If you need any assistance in purchasing a mouthguard for your kid, simply reach out to the professionals at Clear Smiles Orthodontics by phoning their friendly staff on 07 5593 3733.

 

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