5 Reasons for Athletes to Wear Mouthguards

Dr Hanigofksy leaning on a bridge railing

Mouthguards are worn by athletes for more reasons than you may know. From protecting one’s jaw to preventing concussions, these small devices make a world of difference in the sports industry. Find out why dentists and physicians of all fields recommend mouthguards for sports participants of all ages.

Types of Mouthguards
There are two types of mouthguards dentists recommend. The first may be found at most sporting equipment stores and large warehouse retail chains, such as Target and Walmart. These mouthguards are typically under $20. The guards come in an array of colorful designs making them a convenient and appealing option for younger athletes. To fit the guard to one’s bite, the item must be placed in boiling water to soften before biting down to create a bite mold. However, it should be noted these mouthguards are not a snug fit, does not assist with alignment, and is less durable than a custom-made mouthguard.

For the mouthguard to be more durably constructed and better molded to the shape and size of the athlete’s teeth, schedule a trip to your dentist. The dentist can construct a more tear-resistant device that also protects the individual’s alignment thereby increasing the comfort factor while enhancing the jaw and teeth functioning. Be sure to ask your dentist for pricing on a custom mouthguard, if you plan to use this device on an ongoing basis.

Protects From Fractures
One of the main reasons dentists tout the merits of mouthguards to parents and athletes has to do with the volume of oral bone fractures resulting from sporting activities. Such fractures can occur from an impact to the teeth or jaw, both of which could mean surgery to repair. Mouthguards are a simple solution that can absorb the impact preventing these incidents from causing broken teeth or pain.

Prevents Concussions
Of course, the hot topic on every physician’s mind with sports is the risk of concussions. Thankfully, helmets have come a long way in protecting one’s head from brain injuries. However, mouthguards are also an easy way to better protect your athlete. This is because the mouthguard absorbs shock while limiting the jaw’s movement. Thus, while helmets should be worn as recommended, don’t forget your specially built custom mouthguard when suiting up to play!

Reduces Risk of Teeth Being Knocked Out
Broken teeth are not the only risk to your teeth during athletic activities. Unfortunately, teeth may also be knocked out of alignment or the mouth altogether. By wearing a mouthguard, the absorbed impact of such an event is minimized which may significantly reduce the risk of all mouth-related injuries, including dislodged teeth. Should such an injury occur, visit our FAQ page to learn what to do as immediate action should be taken.

Decreases Chance of Soft Tissue and Blood Vessel Damage
As if concussions and bones breaking or teeth being knocked out by a hard hit is not enough, another possible injury that could require surgery or lead to permanent damage is one involving soft tissues in the mouth. When falling, biting one’s tongue, cheek or lip is a common injury that may be prevented with a properly fit custom mouthguard. The guard fits over the upper teeth and this location plus the thickness limits the individual’s ability to bite down on anything except the guard itself. Since such an injury may require stitches or extensive surgery to repair, a quality mouthguard is one tool every athlete should keep clean and ready for use at all times.

Avoids Root Damage
This limited oral movement additionally prevents a more deeply embedded mouth-related medical concern, root damage. Your roots can become injured when teeth are displaced or shifted. Once the roots are damaged, the blood flow to the tooth may be restricted causing the tooth to die. The bacteria from a dead tooth may then spread to other teeth, the gumline or the jawbone. Hence, it is crucial to protect tooth roots with a proper hygiene routine, regular dental wellness visits, and wearing a custom-fit mouthguard during sports. In the event the root is damaged, contact your dental office to be seen as soon as possible to establish a treatment plan and contain the damaged area.

Therefore, with the reduced risk of so many injuries, it is clear a well-fit mouthguard is one of the most effective pieces of protective gear in any sporting bag. Lightweight and small, mouthguards are extremely portable and make safeguarding one’s mouth during physical activities a breeze! Be sure to ask your dentist about your customized mouthguard for the maximum amount of tooth, jaw, cheek, tongue, root, and head protection available. To set up your free dental consultation or schedule your next dental appointment with Dr. Powell at Hickory Dentist, use our contact form online or call (828) 322-2133.