Grin and Wear It

 

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Grin and Wear It®

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out each year through sports injury, accident, or play. Just as helmets, shoulder pads, and knee pads are worn to protect against sports-related injuries, mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, are an equally important piece of protective gear.

Grin and Wear It is a program sponsored by the Massachusetts Dental Society that educates parents and children on the importance of wearing mouthguards during contact sports.

  Soccer Kids

We Can Help You Avoid Putting a Lot of Money Where Your Mouth Is!

As part of the Grin and Wear It program, the Massachusetts Dental Society has enlisted the help of our member dentists across the state.

These dentists have volunteered to fit school-aged children with custom-made mouthguards at a discount or nominal fee. The amount of the discount is up to each dentist.

To find a dentist participating in this program, use the Find a Dentist search, or call the MDS at (800) 342-8747. And be sure to mention the Grin and Wear It mouthguard program when contacting participating dental offices.

 

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What Are Mouthguards? 

As the name implies, mouthguards help prevent injury to the mouth area, especially to the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. Even athletes who use helmets or face masks should wear mouthguards, since they also protect against head and neck injuries by cushioning blows that could otherwise cause concussions or jaw fractures.

In Massachusetts, mouthguards are required in football, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling.

The MDS recommends that adults and children wear mouthguards during all sports in which injury to the mouth may occur.

  • Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the mouth when not wearing a mouthguard.
  • Mouthguard use prevents approximately 200,000 oral-facial injuries each year.
  • The cost to repair a knocked out tooth and follow-up dental treatment can cost thousands of dollars—many times greater than the price of a mouthguard.
 
Mouthguard Kid  

Types and Care of Mouthguards

There are three different kinds of mouthguards. Each one is different in comfort, fit, and cost.  Be sure to consult with your dentist to determine which mouthguard is best for you. However, because they offer the best protection and are considered the most comfortable to wear, the MDS recommends that athletes wear custom-made mouthguards when participating in contact sports.

Custom-Made Mouthguard:

This type of mouthguard is by far the best mouthguard in terms of its fit, comfort, and protection. It is made by a dental lab from a dentist's impression of the teeth. By pressure-laminating the mouthguard during its fabrication, the final product is designed to fit the athlete's mouth exactly.

Boil and Bite Mouthguard:

The boil and bite is a thermoplastic mouth-formed protector and is usually softened by immersing it in hot water. It is then shaped to the teeth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure. This type of mouthguard, however, may not fit as well as the custom-made version.

Stock Mouthguard:

The ready-made or stock mouthguard is found at most sporting good stores. It comes in several shapes and is constructed of rubber or polyvinyl material. However, because little can be done to adjust its fit, it may be uncomfortable and can interfere with breathing and speaking.

Like other sports equipment, mouthguards can wear out, become lost, or deteriorate over time. After each use, clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly.

Check the condition of the mouthguard from time to time to see if it needs replacement. Tears and perforations can irritate the teeth and mouth tissues. These conditions also diminish the amount of protection the mouthguard can provide on the playing field.

As athletes grow, changes in tooth position and jaw size will also require changes in the mouthguard. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly to have the fit of your mouthguard checked.

 

Special News for Orthodontic Patients

A properly fitted mouthguard is especially important for those athletes who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.

Although mouthguards typically cover only the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend that you wear a mouthguard on your bottom teeth, as well, if you also have braces on your lower teeth.

(And remember, do not wear a retainer or other removable appliances while participating in any contact sports.)

Additional Information and Links

 
 

From the American Dental Association: