If you have an athlete in your family, you know the thrill of sitting in the stands and cheering for him or her. There’s nothing like watching your loved one compete, whether he or she plays basketball, football, soccer, field hockey, or any other sport.
And there’s nothing worse than seeing him or her get injured. As fun as sports are to play and to watch, we all understand that accidents and injuries can be part of the game.
Your dentist can’t save you from a twisted ankle, but he or she can help protect your teeth and jaw if you play a high impact sport. Stop by any Beaumont Family Dentistry office in Lexington, and we can create a custom-fitted mouthguard for you.
Risks of impact sports
Sports are an excellent to keep in shape. They are a form of exercise, which can be great for our cardiovascular health.
But we also understand the risks.
A fall, a tackle, or a ball or other object striking an athlete in the face could damage their teeth or jaw. The severity of those injuries only goes up if his or her teeth are not protected in some way.
That’s one of the reasons many professional athletes wear mouthguards even when they are not required to do so by their leagues.
The American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs encourages athletes in a number of sports to wear mouthguards. A 2007 analysis of multiple studies found that athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 1.6 to 1.9 times more likely to suffer dental injuries than those who do.
Another study found that athletes who wear custom-fitted mouthguards are less likely than other athletes to have dental injuries.
If you play a contact or other high impact sport, a mouthguard may save you from a more severe injury in the event of an accident or fall.
Where to get your mouthguard
Any sporting goods store in the area offers a wide selection of mouthguards. These are certainly better than nothing, but a custom-fitted mouthguard offers your best protection, according to the ADA Council.
A properly fitting mouthguard is more beneficial and offers better protection for the individual wearing it.
This may be more important for children, whose mouths are still growing and developing. An injury could cause their teeth or jaw to grow out of alignment.
At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we offer two types of mouthguards for our patients. Both types offer a custom fit and offer protection in the event of a collision or injury.
Our in-house crafted mouthguards can be ready within a day of your fitting. The thickness of this type of mouthguard can’t be changed, but they do come in a variety of colors, for those who like a personal touch.
Our Under Armour mouthguards are completely customizable. These can be made in a variety of colors and thicknesses. This mouthguard is also recommended for athletes who participate in more “extreme” sports.
You should be aware that the Under Armour mouthguards typically take two weeks to make. With that in mind, you may want to schedule your appointment a few weeks or a month prior to the start of your season.
Our dental team would be glad to answer any questions you may have about which type of mouthguard will best suit the needs of your athlete. We also encourage athletes who wear braces or other orthodontics to visit us to discuss mouthguard options.
Just as changes in football helmet designs are intended to reduce the risk of concussions, mouthguards can reduce the risk or severity of many dental injuries. But please keep in mind that mouthguards cannot prevent every possible dental injury.
Caring for your mouthguard
The Journal of the American Dental Association published an article that included tips for proper care and use of your mouthguard.
– Rinse and clean your mouthguard with a toothbrush after each use.
– Clean your mouthguard in cool, soapy water occasionally.
– Transport your mouthguard in a container with vents.
– Check for wear, and replace your mouthguard when needed.
– Do not leave your mouthguard in hot water, the sun, or other hot locations.
– If you have a removable dental appliance (such a retainer), you should not wear that appliance with your mouthguard.
– Do not cut off pieces or chew on your mouthguard.
– Wear your mouthguard at all times during practices just as you would during a game.
– Bring your mouthguard with you to your regular dental exams.
Getting your mouthguard
If you are in the middle of a sports season or getting ready for one, make sure you are doing what you can to protect yourself and your teeth.
Schedule an appointment to get your custom-fitted mouthguard at any Beaumont Family Dentistry location by calling 859-554-1772 or using our online form.