- June 29, 2016
June is almost over, and while it may not seem like it yet, the fall sports season will be here before you know it.
Practices for fall sports will be starting in mid-August, which is why now is the time to get your custom-fitted athletic mouthguard. If you live in or near Nashua, NH, you are welcome to schedule an appointment at our dentist office to get your own mouthguard.
At Nashua Family Dentistry, we want all our local athletes to have mouthguards in time for the first practice of the season if you play any high impact sport.
What Is A High-Impact Sport?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends wearing a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard while practicing or competing in any high-impact sport.
You may think these are contact sports. You are correct, but the definition actually includes a lot more than that. Any sport is high impact if it involves frequent or intense movements on the foot, hip, or knee.
What does that have to do with your jaw? Our bodies are interconnected units. The impacts on our ankles and knees affect other joints as well. A hard landing can cause your jaw to close on itself, which can cause damage to your teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard during those kinds of activities can help protect your teeth from each other and help protect the soft tissues in your mouth from inadvertent bites.
Looking at the sports calendar for the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, there are several high-impacts sports and activities in the fall.
Field hockey, football, soccer, spirit, and volleyball all should be considered high-impact activities, which means we would recommend that any athletic who is participating in those sports should take steps to protect their mouths.
For all of them, injuries to the face are possible from direct contact with another athlete, a ball or a piece of sports equipment or from a fall.
Wearing an athletic mouth guard won’t stop the collision from occurring, but it may make a difference between having a sore lip and breaking or losing a tooth.
Of course, you don’t have to be part of an organized team to participate in high-impact sports. Skateboarding and mountain biking are two other examples of sports in which oral and facial injuries are possible.
Why Should You Get a Custom-Fitted Mouthguard?
We noted earlier that the AAPD recommends wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard. Why is this important?
First and foremost, sports injuries account for nearly one-third of all dental injuries in children. That comes from a 10-year study of cases presented to oral and facial surgery teams. A majority of those injuries were to the upper lip, upper jaw, and the upper incisors (the teeth in the front of the mouth).
Wearing any mouthguard is better than wearing nothing, but the best protection comes from having a properly fitting mouthguard.
Stock mouthguards cannot be molded, which can make them uncomfortable to wear.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are available at many sporting goods stores. There can be molded to a degree to fit your teeth. However, they also can be bulky, which means they may interfere with your ability to breathe or communicate when you are wearing one.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are smaller but molded specifically for your teeth. This makes it easier to talk, breathe, and drink water while wearing this kind of mouthguard.
Are custom-fitted mouthguards more expensive than the other kinds? Yes, but that difference is minimal when compared to the cost of replacing a lost tooth.
Caring For Your Mouthguard
If you do get one of our custom-fitted mouthguards, we want you to get the most use out of it that you can. With that in mind, follow these tips to keep your mouthguard in good shape.
Rinse your mouthguard before and after each use. This helps to keep it clean.
Check your mouthguard for tears or wear before each use. A damaged mouthguard may not provide the same level of protection as an intact one.
Store your mouthguard in its protective case when you are transporting it.
And do not store your mouthguard near heat. This can cause the mouthguard to change shape, which can affect how well it fits in your mouth.
Protect Your Smile
We love seeing our patients’ smiles at our dentist office in Nashua, NH. We also know that playing sports comes with some risk of injury. Wearing protective equipment, including athletic mouthguards, reduces that risk.