Collisions are an inevitable part of any sport. It’s not just high-contact sports like football and hockey. Baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer also have their fair share of impact injuries. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard for over 25 different sports.
In addition to protecting teeth, a mouthguard can also prevent injuries to the lips, cheeks, and tongue.
Since over 30 percent of all dental injuries are sports related, a quality mouthguard is one way you can decrease the chances of a trip to the emergency room for yourself or a child. Think of it as an essential part of the uniform, just like a football helmet or baseball glove.
There are three main types of mouthguards available for athletes:
These are inexpensive guards that offer a general fit. Because they are not made specifically for the wearer, they may not fit well and could interfere with breathing.
Just like the name implies, this type of mouthguard is boiled in water and once it cools somewhat, the wearer bites down on it to create an impression of his or her teeth. Boil-and-bite guards can provide a higher level of protection and comfort compared to stock mouthguards.
Since they are made specifically for the wearer by a dentist, this type of guard is the most effective and comfortable to use. Because they’re made by a professional, they are also the most expensive option.
Care for your mouthguard
A mouthguard can last for some time with proper care. Remember to:
- Rinse it with cold water thoroughly before and after wearing it.
- Brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store it in a container that allows airflow to keep it dry and discourage bacteria from growing.
Inspect your mouthguard regularly and replace it if it becomes torn or ill-fitting. Above all, remember to wear it during every game and practice. Your teeth depend on it.
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