April is National Face Protection Month and dental and sports organisations are reminding consumers of the benefits and protection provided by wearing mouth guards. Mouth guards are especially important for athletes as well as recreational sports players. Devices protect teeth and can help to prevent serious injuries that affect the jaw, mouth and teeth.
Some sports are more high risk than others, in particular contact sports such as rugby and boxing. Some sports like hockey are also high risk due to hockey sticks. There are various different types of mouth guards, including custom mouth guards which are made to measure by your dental office for your personal use. Off the shelf mouth guards are pre-formed and may feel large.
Other customisable mouth guards are called boil and bite models. These are softened in boiling water and inserted in order to adjust to the shape of your teeth and mouth. For a professional custom mouth guard which is made to measure customers can book an appointment with their local practitioner.
Many dental associations and sports organisations recommend that sports players and athletes wear mouth guards to keep their teeth and smiles safe. This is true for recreational, semi-pro and pro players at all levels.
Mouth guards should be worn by both adults and younger age groups, and the ages of 7 – 11 are most vulnerable for children in terms of sports related injuries. If an athlete chooses not to wear a mouth guard, they are many times more likely to sustain an injury and permanent damage to teeth or jaws. This would also be very painful at the time, and during any required treatment. Costs could also be high to correct any damage. Treating any damage may never achieve the same results as your natural smile prior to any injury.
When considering which sports to wear mouth guards for, the device can be worn for all sports. Contact and collision sports are obviously the most high risk but injuries can still be experienced from other sports such as gymnastics or roller blading.
If someone is wearing orthodontic braces, a custom fit mouth guard will be required and is an absolute must when wearing braces and taking part in contact sports or high risk sports. Your orthodontic practice will need to produce a made to measure custom mouth guard for you. This will protect your teeth, jaws, mouth and orthodontic appliance. If you are wearing removable clear braces, you may be able to remove the aligners and use a regular off the shelf mouth guard for while playing sports. You will need to speak to your dentist as you will need to ensure the correct wear time for your clear braces. Enjoy your sporting activities, but remember your smile is worth protecting.