You encourage your family to brush their teeth daily. You try to limit how much sugar your kids eat. You also bring your kids to your family dentist for regular cleanings.
So, you also should insist that your loved ones were properly fitted athletic mouthguards whenever they take to the court or the field. Mouthguards greatly reduce your child’s, your spouse’s, and your risk of a dental emergency.
To put this another way, a mouthguard can help you feel more confident that your favorite people can keep smiling long after their playing days are over.
At Nashua Family Dentistry, our dental professionals understand how important those smiles are to you. It’s why we routinely make custom-fitted mouthguards for our patients in and around Nashua, NH.
If you would like to get one for yourself or someone in your family, please give us a call at (603) 546-7460. It’s never too early to protect a smile.
Anyone who plays any high-impact sport should be wearing a mouthguard. One dictionary defines it this way: “An activity or sport characterized by intense and/or frequent wear and trauma of weight-bearing joints.”
That helps some, but it may be more helpful to answer these questions:
- Does your sport involve frequent changes in speed?
- Does your sport require frequent changes in direction?
- Does your sport include lots of jumping (and therefore landing)?
- Are athletes in your sports often make physical contact with one another?
- Is there a risk of being hit by objects that are tossed, thrown, kicked, or batted (e.g. pucks, balls, flying discs)?
If you can answer yes to one or more of those questions, then you are playing a high-impact sport. That’s not according to us, that’s according to the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s also how the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists define high-impact sports.
This covers everything from boxing, football, and wrestling to cheerleading, lacrosse, skateboarding, and volleyball among many, many other sports and activities.
Even if you aren’t required to wear a mouthguard, dental professionals here in Nashua, across the state, and around the country recommend using one.
Numbers to Know
Each year, an estimated 3 million teeth are knocked out during youth sporting events.
Children who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to suffer dental injuries than athletes who do.
It’s important to keep in mind that mouthguards, like seatbelts, won’t stop an accident or collision from occurring. They can make a difference in how serious the damage is as a result of those incidents, however.
In spite of these, an estimated 84 percent of children do not wear mouthguards, according to a recent survey of parents by the AAO.
The sports that cause the most dental injuries may not be the ones that immediately come to mind. According to the AAPD, basketball and baseball cause the most dental injuries among children between the ages of 7 and 17. If you’ve got a child playing or preparing to play in summer sports leagues, that’s something to keep in mind.
For some idea of how effective mouthguards can be, at least 1 in 4 football injuries in the 1940s and 1950s was a dental injury. (Some estimates put that figure closer to half of football injuries.) Today, less than half of football injuries are dental in nature.
The Best Protection
The bettter a mouthguard fits, the better protection it will provide. This is the reason dental professionals recommend have a custom-fitted mouthguard made for all the athletes in your family.
These are made from molds of each athlete’s mouth, so they fit as well as possible.
This is similar to while parents of small children and professional race car drivers use five-point harnesses rather than the three-point harnesses in most passenger vehicles.
Obviously, dental injuries can occur anytime and anyplace, but there is an increased risk when people are moving as fast as they can or are attempting to throw or kick things at or around each other.
Taking the field without a mouthguard is like driving without a seatbelt.
A boil-and-bite mouthguard is similar to wearing a passenger seatbelt. It provides some protection, but not as much as you could have.
These kinds of mouthguards also tend to be bulky. Many patients have come to us because they found that they had trouble breathing and speaking when wearing a boil-and-bite mouthguard.
Our custom-fitted mouthguards are smaller, making them more comfortable to wear. This also always you to breathe and speak freely while wearing it. You can even drink water without removing our mouthguards.
Caring for Your Mouthguard
Once you have your mouthguard, it’s important to care for it properly. Mouthguards will wear out over time, but you don’t need to speed up that process by treating yours carelessly.
- Before and after each use, inspect your mouthguard or any tears.
- Rinse your mouthguard after each game or practice.
- Regularly clean your mouthguard with cool, soapy water.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective container with holes that allow it to dry.
- Do NOT store your mouthguard near heat, which could distort its shape.
- Store your mouthguard where a pet can’t find it (and turn it into their newest chew toy).
- Likewise, you should avoid chewing on your mouthguard since this can cause unnecessary wear and tear.
Last but not least, we recommend bringing your mouthguard with you during your dental appointments. We can examine it and answer any questions about whether it is ready to be replaced.
Smiles are Worth Saving
We understand that sports are more expensive than they were when we were kids. This is partly because of new technology, but also because we have a better understanding of the importance of protective gear.
We hope you will consider a mouthguard to be an essential piece of equipment. We would much rather make one for you today instead of repairing your broken tooth tomorrow.