You Can't Lose With a Mouthguard
The statistics say it all. Approximately 15 million children participate in organized sports in the United States. Of that number, there is a 10 percent chance each season that they will suffer an orofacial injury. According to the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS), athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the mouth when not wearing a protective mouthguard. The cost to repair a knocked-out tooth and the follow-up dental treatment can be thousands of dollars, a great deal pricier than the cost of a mouthguard.
Athletes wearing orthodontia are even more prone to serious injury when not wearing a mouthguard. Imagine the extent of damage caused by a baseball hitting an unprotected mouth full of braces. Nowadays, parents go to great lengths to buy all the necessary protective equipment to make sure their child avoids injury. However, one very important piece of protective gear is still not worn consistently—the mouthguard.
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.
There are three types of mouthguards: the stock mouthguard, the boil and bite mouthguard, and the custom-made mouthguard. However, not all mouthguards are created equal.
Both the store-bought stock mouthguards and the store-bought boil and bite mouthguards offer some protection at a low cost. Unfortunately, they are usually uncomfortable to wear and may make breathing and speaking difficult. Neither type is as protective, comfortable, and noninterfering with speech and breathing as the custom-made mouthguard, constructed by a dentist from an impression of the athlete’s teeth.
Read Basketball Players: Be on Guard When it Comes to Protecting Your Smile —MDS Word of Mouth article.
Learn more about the Massachusetts Dental Society's mouthguard program,Grin and Wear It.