Sports are a wonderful hobby to get into and many adults and children alike are part of organized sports teams all over the country. When we think about joining a team we may wonder what our uniform looks like or what additional gear we may need. One piece of equipment that can often slip people’s minds is a mouthguard. While many people don’t necessarily think about adding this to their uniform, it can provide great benefits to frequent wearers.
What is a Mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a strong plastic tooth shield that protects both the teeth and gums from damage. It is typically used by athletes to protect their teeth from getting chipped, broken, or knocked out entirely. There are 3 main types of mouthguards including:
- Pre-formed mouthguards- This type of mouthguard can be found at any typical sporting goods store. They are typically one-size-fits-all and come packaged and ready to wear. While they tend to be on the cheaper side and are great last-minute options, they provide little to no actual protection.
- Boil and bite mouthguards- These mouthguards can also be purchased from a sporting goods store. They need to be boiled so that they can soften and be applied to the teeth. After a while, they will mold to the specific contours of the teeth and be ready for use. This is not the best mouthguard option available but it is much better and safer than pre-formed mouthguards.
- Custom-fit mouthguards- This type of mouthguard is the ideal choice for athletes. It is specially made in a dental office with strong materials. While it tends to be a more expensive option, it offers the most protection for the teeth.
Mouthguards perform a variety of necessary functions for those involved in sports such as:
- Preventing tooth fractures and dislocations
- Preventing teeth from coming into contact with one another
- Protecting the jaw from impact and bone damage
- Reducing injury to the brain and lessening the possibility of a concussion
- Preventing the development of cuts and bruises when impacted
In addition to these functions, regularly using a mouthguard is a preventative measure against neck injuries and aid in helping athletes feel more secure and protected without having to worry about safeguarding their mouths
What Are The Benefits Of Wearing a Mouthguard While Playing Sports?
Those involved with intense contact sports should greatly consider getting a mouthguard if it hasn’t been previously recommended to them. There are many great benefits that come with the frequent usage of mouthguards including:
- They protect braces from being affected by physical trauma
- Soft oral tissues such as the tongue, lips, inner cheeks, and gums from damage
- They help absorb blows to the face
- They help protect your brain and jaw from sustaining mass amounts of damage
Of course, not all athletes are required to wear a mouthguard. However, those involved in the following contact sports should greatly consider adding one to their gear:
- Ice hockey
Other unlisted sports may warrant the use of a mouthguard as well if the individual has a decently high likelihood of mouth damage. If you are wondering if purchasing a mouthguard is right for you or your loved one, you can consult your dentist to understand your options.