Tips for Using Moughtguards
Athletes who participate in contact sports understand the necessity of wearing a mouthguard. Hockey, football, rugby, and boxing are just a few sports that require the use of mouthguards, and there are several that recommend them but don’t require them. A mouthguard is a soft plastic piece of equipment that rests in a person’s mouth and is designed to fit on the upper or lower jaw to protect the teeth, cheeks, tongue, and jaw from oral injuries. The American Dental Association (ADA) reported an average of approximately 200,000 oral injuries that occur every year, and they could have been prevented by wearing a mouthguard while playing a sport (ada.org, 2010). This statistic alone should be enough to promote the use of mouthguards in sports.
Here is a list of dental injuries that can happen from not wearing a mouthguard:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Fractured crowns or bridgework
- Lip and cheek injuries
- Root damage to the teeth
- Fractured jaws
If you or your child has suffered an oral injury from not wearing a mouthguard, don’t worry, our Livermore dentists can help. Call Foothill Dental Care in Livermore at (925) 961-5484 to schedule an appointment today.
Although mouthguards are required in organized sports leagues, young athletes seldom use mouthguards when they are playing recreationally, and that is when oral injuries happen. The ADA found that approximately 84 percent of young athletes do not wear mouthguards when they are not required to by a youth league or in recreational play (ada.org, 2010).
A study sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (APD) titled, “Oral Trauma in Adolescent Athletes: A Study of Mouth Protectors” conducted by McNutt, Shannon, Wright, and Feinstein concluded that 75 percent of injuries occurred when mouth guards were not worn and 40 percent occurred during baseball and basketball; nine percent of all athletes suffered some type of oral injury while another three percent reported a loss of consciousness; 56 percent of all concussions were suffered when mouth guards were not worn (aapd.org, 2009).
The Right Mouthguard
Finding the right type of mouthguard to fit an athlete’s mouth may take some time because there are several colors, shapes, and styles of mouthguards that it can be like selecting a piece of clothing. Regardless of style or color, the best type of mouthguard to buy is one that is resilient, tear-resistant, and comfortable. If a child has a large over- or under-bite, check with your family orthodontist before choosing a mouthguard because the wrong type may hurt your child’s teeth or jaw. Once the mouthguard is selected, you will want to mold it to fit properly and comfortably. Usually the mouthguard care instructions will show you how to do that.
Here are a few tips to help you take care of the mouthguard:
- Gently scrub it after each use with a toothbrush and some toothpaste
- Store it in its protective case
- To prevent it from melting, keep it out of the sun
- Avoid chewing on it (Unless you’re Stephen Curry)
- Replace it before every new sports season
If you or your child has suffered an oral injury from not wearing a mouthguard, don’t worry, we can help. Call Foothill Dental Care in Livermore at (925) 961-5484 to schedule an appointment today.