Which of these athletes do not need to wear athletic mouthguards?
□ Football players
□ Basketball players
If you said anything other than golfers, then we have some bad news for you. Every one of these athletes (other than the golfers) should be taking steps to protect their teeth whenever they are practicing or playing their sport of choice.
Whether you are part of a recreational team with your co-workers or friends or your children are budding sports stars, then each of you should be wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard. You can get one of these mouthguards, and many other general dentistry services, at Advanced Dental Center.
Mouthguards Can Save Your Favorite Smiles
The National Youth Sports Foundation estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out every year during youth sports. At the same time, the American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that mouthguards prevent 200,000 oral injuries per year.
Based on a survey by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 84 percent of children do not wear mouthguards while playing sports. It makes us wonder how many of those 3 million teeth could be saved if more people wore mouthguards.
There’s a reason the ADA, AAO, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the Academy for Sports Dentistry all agree that any athlete who plays a high-impact sport should wear a mouthguard during games and practices.
So what is a high-impact sport? Boxing and football certainly qualify, but so do baseball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, softball, volleyball, and many more sports than we will attempt to list here.
High-impact sports involve one or more of the following factors:
▸ Contact between players/participants
▸ Changes in speed or direction
▸ Flying objects (pucks, balls, etc.) that could strike a player
Combat and contact sports like boxing, football, and wrestling have made mouthguard mandatory for decades. As a result, the number of dental injuries in those sports has decreased significantly.
In fact, basketball players are 13 times more likely to suffer dental injuries than football players. If you follow professional basketball, you have probably noticed that more players are choosing to wear mouthguards during games. Those players are setting a good example in doing so, and we hope even more players will follow suit in years to come.
Among children, basketball (ages 13 to 17) and baseball (12 and under) are the sports that cause the most dental injuries, according to the AAPD.
What Makes A Good Athletic Mouthguard?
Before we answer that question, we want to make two things clear.
First, wearing any mouthguard is better than wearing no mouthguard at all. Second, mouthguards are like seatbelts. They won’t stop an accident from happening, but they can prevent or minimize the extent of an injury in many situations.
So, what should you look for in a mouthguard? The ADA, AAPD, and the other organizations mentioned earlier agree that the best mouthguards should resist tearing, keep your teeth in place, and allow you to breathe and speak normally.
Let’s consider your options.
The first is what is called a stock mouthguard. These mouthguards come in standard shapes, but cannot be molded to fit your teeth. They offer some protection, but they can be bulky and uncomfortable to wear.
The second option is a boil-and-bite mouthguard. These can be found in many stores, and they are a step up from the stock mouthguards. These are generally tear-resistant, and after they have been molded, they can help keep teeth in place.
However, like stock mouthguards, these tend to be bulky, which means they can interfere with breathing and speaking.
The third option is a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard, like we can make at our Florence, SC, dentist office. These are created from a mold of your teeth. The materials are high-quality, which makes them durable. They will keep your teeth in place, and since each one is custom-made, they are smaller than the commercial mouthguards you will find in stores.
As a result, you can breathe and speak normally without removing your mouthguard.
We Want To Protect Your Smile
Sports can be great fun and give many people the motivation to stay healthy. We hope you enjoy your time on the court or field, but we want you to keep smiling when the games are over, too.