Do you know that up to 39 percent of dental injuries occur while kids are playing sports – and of those injuries, 80 percent involve damage to one or both teeth? 1 No parent wants that to happen to his or her child.
In order to prevent dental injuries, well-fitted, custom-made mouthguards are essential for most sports – especially those that are high contact.
However, with any sport where there is any risk of a sudden jarring movement to the face or jaw, you should consider the use of a mouthguard. Many professional and non-professional athletes use custom mouthguards in sports even where it is not required.
If you participate in any of the following activities, the American Dental Association (ADA)2 and the Academy for Sports Dentistry3 recommend that you wear a properly fitted mouthguard:
MORE THAN THE MOUTH– MOUTH GUARDS MAY HELP PROTECT AGAINST CONCUSSION
In addition to preventing injuries to the mouth, gums, and jaw, mouth guards also help protect the head. Properly fitted mouth guards can reduce the impact of a blow to the head or jaw – which may reduce the risk of concussion and/or loss of consciousness.
Mouth guards may help protect against:
- Dislodged or knocked out tooth/teeth
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Broken or chipped tooth/teeth
- Bitten or lacerated tongue or lip
- Jaw fracture
PROPER CARE OF A CUSTOM MOUTHGUARD
Taking good care of your mouth guard is crucial for maintaining its effectiveness and protection. Here are some tips to keep your mouth guard in good shape:
- After each use, clean it with cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
- Keep it in a sturdy, rigid container to prevent loss or damage
- Keep it away from high temperatures (heat can change its shape)
- Have your mouth guard checked regularly at your dentist appointments to make sure it fits correctly and offers maximum protection
- Continually check for wear and tear and replace if necessary
Though taking care of your mouth guard is important, and occasional replacements are necessary especially when your mouth guard is getting plenty of use. For some avid athletes, getting a new mouth guard after each season is appropriate. For others, a mouth guard can last up to a year. Mouth guard replacements may be more frequent for adolescents as their mouths are still growing and teeth are developing, which can alter the fit and effectiveness of the guard.
Using the proper mouth guard gives parents the piece of mind that their kids’ mouths are safe wherever they participate in sports and recreational activities.
Dr. Kellee N. Kattleman Stanton, founder of George Dental Group, has been named a Minneapolis, St. Paul top dentist. Conveniently located in Eagan, MN, George Dental Group is just minutes from the MSP airport and Mall of America.