September 2013 articles

The Real Game-Winner: Mouthguards

Take me out to the ball game has a much better ring to it than take me out to the dentist, dont you think? Thats why you and your children should always wear a mouthguard when playing any sport or activity baseball included that carries a risk of mouth injury. Young athletes are 60 times more likely to injure their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard, which is why its so important to wear them for both practices and games. In addition to keeping teeth safer, they also help prevent inner mouth lacerations and jaw and neck injuries.1 There are three basic types of mouthguards: custom-fit, boil and bite, and stock mouthguards. Ideally, a mouthguard should be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause minimal interference with speaking and breathing, and have excellent retention. The best option is a custom-fit model, which a dentist can create to perfectly fit the contours of each persons mouth. Its more expensive than the other mouthguard options, but it works the best and is also the most comfortable since it has an exact fit.2 If cost is an issue, consider the other options. You may have seen boil-and-bite mouthguards in sporting goods stores. This mouthguard gets soft when dropped into boiling water, so the wearer can bite into it to form it to his or her mouth. This option is more economical than the dentist-created model, but also offers only a somewhat custom fit.2 The cheapest options are stock mouthguards, which are not customizable. This type of mouthguard will only stay in place if the wearer clenches his or her teeth. Its the least comfortable of all of the options, but its a better choice than playing sports with no mouthguard at all.2 So, which activities require a mouthguard? Football, ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse, but athletes should wear them for any sport or activity that has the potential to cause a mouth injury. Here are a few, just for starters: basketball (which has a higher occurrence of mouth injuries)3, acrobatics, baseball, bicycling, boxing, discus throwing, gymnastics, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot put, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.2

1 Sport a Mouthguard to Keep Teeth Safe 2 Athletic Mouth Guards for Oral Protection 3 Cohenca N, Roges RA, Roges R. The incidence and severity of dental trauma in intercollegiate athletes. J Am Dent Assoc. 2007 Aug;138(8):1121-6.


What’s your trick-or-treat philosophy?

| View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Print article | Share article: