Football season may be winding down, but that’s no reason to ditch your mouthguard. In fact, it might be a good time to replace your old mouthguard for the winter sports season.
Whether your family is getting ready for hoops or hockey, the winter slopes or the wrestling mat, you need to make sure you protect your smiles. The best way to do that is with custom-fitted athletic mouthguards.
And you can get one for every member of your family at either Northwest Dental Group location in Rochester, MN.
Who Needs An Athletic Mouthguard?
Mouthguards have become a standard piece of equipment for many sports. Football is probably one of the first that comes to mind.
But many, many more athletes should be wearing mouthguards during practices and games, and that’s not just us saying that. That’s the position of the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and more professional dental organizations.
You should be wearing a mouthguard if your sport of choice involves:
■ Frequent contact between participants
■ Frequent changes of direction or changes in speed
■ Frequent jumping (and therefore landing)
■ Flying objects (pucks, balls, etc.)*
Most sports that involve one or more of the things on the list above are considered high-impact sports. And in any high-impact sports, you have an increased risk of dental injuries.
Wearing a mouthguard — regardless of whether it is required — should become part of your routine. We are starting to see this more and more among college and professional basketball players, which in our view, is a step in the right direction.
According to the AAPD’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries,” basketball is the sport that contributes to the most dental injuries among athletes 13 to 17 years old. Among 7- to 12-year-olds, baseball causes the highest number of dental injuries.
Each year, an estimated 3 million teeth are lost as a result of youth sports accidents, while about 200,000 teeth are saved by wearing protective mouthguards. According to recent parent survey, fewer than 1 in 5 athletes wear mouthguards regularly.
We wonder how many more teeth would be saved, and how many fewer teeth would be lost, if more people wore athletic mouthguards on the field or court.
* Golf may an exception here.
Are All Athletic Mouthguards The Same?
The short answer is no, they are not.
We do need to be clear about a few things before we continue. First, any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard at all. Second, no mouthguard can prevent every injury, just as no seat belt can prevent every injury in a car accident. However, taking steps to protect yourself will greatly reduce your risk of serious injury in most situations.
Sticking with the seat belt analogy, let’s use that as a comparison for the different kinds of mouthguards. The more secure you are, the more you are protected in your car or truck. In a similar way, the more your mouthguard fits your teeth, the more protection it provides.
A stock mouthguard is more like a lap belt. It offers limited protection, but you can’t do much to modify it to fit you better.
A boil-and-bite mouthguard, like the ones you can find is stores, could be compared to the three-point seat belts that are in most cars today. This adds another level of security, and it’s easier to modify to fit you.
But the best mouthguards are custom-fitted and made from molds of your teeth. You could say these are comparable to the five-point harnesses that professional race car drivers wear.
Does better protection cost a little more? Yes, but that extra protection could be the difference between a lost tooth, a broken tooth, or a sore lip if an accident does occur.
You want your family to keep smiling long after the games are over. Keeping all their teeth would certainly help them do that.
Protect Your Favorite Smiles
If your family plays sports, then they should probably be wearing athletic mouthguards. For the best protection possible, make an appointment at Northwest Dental Group to get custom-fitted mouthguards soon.