Athletic Mouth Protection
The American Dental Association has estimated that over 200,000 sports-related oral injuries each year are preventable by the use of mouth guards. Mouthguards, much like airbags in your car, cushion the force of a blow. Therefore, they are recommended for all high contact sports but also any sport where a collision with another player or their equipment could result in a mouth or head injury. Cushioning the blow to the jaw dissipates the energy, greatly decreasing the incidence and severity of concussions because the lower jaw is not forced back into the base of the skull, and harmful forces are not transmitted to the brain. More obvious, are the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth which are protected from the upper and lower jaws being brought forcefully together in an impact. Dental costs to repair or replace teeth due to trauma can costs $10,000 or more depending on the number of teeth effected. This is turn, can lead to a lifetime of dental problems and costly maintenance. While spending money on sporting equipment, always remember the most important piece of equipment — THE MOUTH GUARD.
Is my mouth guard right for me?
“I use a mouth guard I bought in a sporting goods store, am I protected?”
The most popular form of mouth guard is the Boil-and-Bite mouthguard you can purchase at any sports department for around $20.00. They are immersed in boiling water and then formed to the teeth with biting pressure. These mouth guards offer the LEAST amount of protection for a variety of reasons. The number one reason is that because one size cannot fit all mouths, most people who use these have to cut them to make them comfortable thus reducing the protective properties of the mouthguard. The second reason is that due to the thin material used in these mouth guards the athlete will bite through the material during performace in a few shorts weeks. This increases their chance of a concussion from a blow to the chin. Mainly they offer a perceived benefit for a low cost. Let’s compare our mouth guard (on the right) to an over the counter mouth guard (on the left). In order to be effective, a mouth guard must be comfortable, have excellent self-retention, have little or no interference with speaking or breathing, wear well and resist deformation. It shoud not be bulky but have adequate thickness to protect according to the degree of contact in each sport. Custom made mouth guards are superior in every way to the stock and boil and bite guards. While spending money on sporting equipment, always remember the most important piece of equipment — THE MOUTH GUARD.