You only get one set of teeth – let’s protect them.
Growing up, we often see professional athletes wearing mouthguards in sport. They aren’t just used to make them look tough and put off the opposition, they help protect teeth from any damage.
Both Sports Medicine Australia and the Australia Dental Association recommends that a mouthguard should be worn while playing regardless if it’s contact or non-contact sports.
How do mouthguards work?
When an impact occurs to the lower part of the face, the force received can travel all the way through the jaw and up towards the skull. As a result of this, there is an increased risk of fractures to the front teeth as well as possible concussions.
Mouthguards are designed to fit comfortably in the mouth while acting as a buffer for any impacts. The spongy material that is used acts as a shock absorber and reduces the force from an impact to the jaw, skull or teeth.
Generic vs the custom fit
The one size fits all saying can be applied to many things we use every day, unfortunately not to mouthguards. Most people tend to believe that a generic sports mouthguard from your local sports store will offer the same protection as a more expensive, custom-fit mouthguard. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
The generic sports (also known as boil-and-bite) guard is a self-fitted application which requires the guard to be boiled before fitting. This allows for the bite area to soften up before taking shape of the teeth and mouth. This fit may protect your teeth, but they are less effective and don’t conform well to the person’s bite and structure of the jaw. As a result of this, it is likely to move around and may not offer protection if impact occurs around the face or jaw area.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are fitted and constructed by a professional dentist. They are usually around 4mm thick, offering a cushioning effect from impact. One benefit with these guards is that they not only offer excellent fit, but it’s also still possible to talk – especially when the game becomes intense and communication is required between players.
When considering which guard is best, it is important to remember that we all only get one set of teeth. When looking at a mouthguard it is often a good idea to ask yourself these questions:
- Does it fit well?
- Can I still breathe and speak without restriction?
- Is the mouthguard comfortable?
The protection you get from mouthguards
By wearing a mouthguard while playing any form of contact sports, you are helping to prevent injuries to the mouth as well as:
- Protecting against jaw joint injuries
- Preventing neck and jaw injuries
- Preventing possible concussions
Mouthguards at Access Dental Care
Do you or your child play a contact sport? If you say yes, we would recommend that you contact us for a consultation where we will sit down with you and discuss the option for a sports mouthguard.