You must’ve seen boxers wear mouth guards, and you’d think they need it since they are getting punched in the face by their opponents. But did you know that other sports are also risky for your dental health? That’s why every athlete must wear mouth guards. After all, they are attributed to preventing more than 200,000 dental injuries, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Why You Should Wear Mouth Guards
If you partake in any kind of physical sport, you should get mouth guards for yourself, even if the sport doesn’t mandate it. Some of the sports where mouth guards can work wonders are football, soccer, basketball, hockey, skateboarding, cycling, skating, and wrestling. Here’s how they can protect your face and mouth.
Prevents Chipped or Broken Teeth
When playing any kind of physical sport, you never know when you will be hit in the face with something hard. It can be a ball, a flying bat, a hockey puck, or even other player’s elbow or knee. All of those can hurt a lot, but some can also break your teeth. You are always at a risk of tripping and falling face-first on the ground. This is where a mouth guard can protect your teeth.
Mouth guards are made of various materials, like ethylene-vinyl acetate, or thermo-polymers. They are designed in a way to keep your lower teeth from hitting the upper teeth in case of an accident, and they redistribute the force, reducing the impact on the teeth. Of course, they won’t provide 100% protection, but go a long way in minimizing the damage.
Protects Your Lips and Face
Teeth aren’t the only thing that can get hurt. When something hits your face, you may have your mouth open that can clamp shut or move around during the impact. This can cause the lower jaw to suddenly push against the mouth, and if the soft tissues of your lips or mouth get between the teeth, they can get damaged. And that is painful.
Similar to the above point, mouth guards prevent the lower and upper teeth from impacting hard with each other, preventing bitten off lips and face. Ask anyone who has had their lips bitten off when a hockey puck hit their face, and they’ll agree that a mouth guard could’ve prevented that.
Prevents Jaw Damage
Your jaw, as hard as it may bite, is actually quite sensitive to trauma. If something hard hits your jaw at the wrong angle, it can lead to severe injury and dislodge your lower jaw. It can hurt a lot and take months to heal, and you won’t be able to enjoy your favourite burger until it’s healed.
In such instances, a mouth guard can stop your jaw from moving a lot during the impact by absorbing some of the impact of the blow and redistributing it. This can significantly reduce the chances of jaw trauma if you get hit in the face with a bat that flew off the batter’s hand!
Helps Redistribute Force to the Head
One of the surprising benefits of wearing a mouth guard is that it can reduce the trauma to your head in case something hits your head. How it works is that when something hits your head, the mouth guard absorbs some of the shocks, stabilizes the head and neck, and limits the jaw’s movement. This can significantly reduce the chance of concussion.
Shields Your Braces
If you wear braces, you already know how delicate the brackets are. One wrong swipe with a string of floss, and they can come off. Now imagine what would happen if a hockey puck flies to your face. Doesn’t sound so pleasant, does it? Well, you’d be surprised to know that mouth guard can protect your braces too!
They work as a shield and prevent significant trauma to the braces, but only custom made mouth guards are effective for braces. Although they are a bit expensive, custom made mouth guards can save you a lot of pain by safeguarding your braces.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three mouth guard types, and depending on your sport and budget. The most basic type of mouth guard is the one you get at any local pharmacy or sports store. They are cheap, costing under $15, and are ready to wear. The only downside is that they are made to fit everyone, i.e., they are one size fits all, which may not be the perfect fit for your teeth. As a result, they can make talking difficult, and they may look goofy.
Another better type of mouth guards are boil and bite ones. They have to be heated by dipping in hot water, after which you put them in your mouth and bite hard on them. They fit snugly on your mouth and are a great choice that can protect your teeth.
If you have a more unique shape of teeth or have braces, even boil and bite mouth guards may not fit you well. In that case, you should opt for custom made mouth guards. In fact, if you can afford the slightly higher cost, you should get them even if ready to wear guards may fit you. They are the best type of mouth guards, and other types of mouth guards don’t offer the same levels of comfort, fit, and safety.
Mouth guards are an excellent investment. You spend some money at the beginning of every season, and you can avoid thousands of dollars in dental procedures and a lot of pain that may come with dental injuries. Remember to replace your mouth guards at the start of the new season as they can get worn out in a few months. For more questions on mouth guards, you can reach out to 67th Street Dental, and we will help you pick the best mouth guard that fits your teeth perfectly.