custom mouthguardAre you or your child at risk of sports-related dental injuries?

Dental injuries while playing sports are more common than you might imagine. Dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports.  These injuries are what every parent fears will happen to their child: knocked out teeth, injured cheeks or tongue, broken jaws and broken teeth.   To make matters worse, up to 75% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the most visible teeth in our smile, the front teeth.

A sports mouth guard is an obvious choice to reduce the chance of sports-related dental injuries.  All sports mouthguards are not created equal, however.  Low-cost sports store mouthguards can make you feel as though you’re protected, when in fact your protection is limited.  Let’s take a look at what makes an effective mouthguard to help you choose wisely.

The following are the attributes of a properly fitted and effective mouthguard:

  1. must be protective with sufficient thickness in key areas, yet not bulky
  2. fit comfortably, allowing natural breathing and speaking
  3. tear-resistant, keeps its form
  4. odorless & tasteless

Shelf-bought mouthguards often do not meet any of these criteria when they are brand new.  Once they have been used for a while and they are chewed out of shape, their condition makes them even worse.  Despite this, over 90% of the mouthguards worn are of the variety bought at sporting goods stores.

What is the alternative to store-bought mouthguards?

Fortunately, there is a choice, one that measures up to all of the criteria of a good and effective mouthguard!  A custom-made mouth guard is not only much more comfortable, and safe and allows you to breathe and talk naturally, it also has been shown to improve your physical performance.

How does a custom-made mouthguard improve your physical performance?

In a nutshell, the custom-made mouth guard is made for your perfect jaw and bite position.  When your mouth is in this relaxed position, the state of relaxation trickles down to your head and neck and even spine muscles allowing your posture to remain straighter and to keep poised and balanced.  All of this adds up to improved physical performance in golf, hockey, football, basketball and many other sports.

Custom-made mouth guards range from basic types which are suitable for kids and junior athletes to professional mouth guards for athletes looking to enhance their athletic performance.  To find out what is recommended for your needs, book an appointment with our Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group team.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care.  At each visit to our office, we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.

Sports mouthguards are proven to prevent injury during contact sports.  Just how many? According to a study of high school football players conducted by the American Dental Association, mouthguards prevented approximately 200,000 injuries in a single year.

Which sports are considered “contact” sports?

A wide range of sports can lead to dental injuries.  While some sports have a higher incidence of dental injuries, any sport where a fall is possible, could lead to a dental injury.  Sports such as hockey, lacrosse, boxing and football feature direct contact, but sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, biking or skateboarding – and others – can all be considered as potentials for dental injury.

When do injuries tend to happen?

Don’t assume that most dental injuries happen only during games.  A study done by “Safe Kids Worldwide,” found that 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries happen during a practice.  Armed with this knowledge, coaches and parents need to remind children to wear sports mouthguards whether playing or practicing.

Consequences of knocked-out teeth

Knocked out teeth can sometimes be saved and replanted if emergency dental attention is received.  Read more about saving a knocked out tooth.  Lost teeth come with a high price tag, including potentially thousands of dollars per tooth and several hours in the dentist’s chair.

Types of mouth guards

Sports store brand mouth guards are easy to find and relatively cheap, however, poor fit and little resistance to wear-and-tear can render this type of mouthguard useless in a short period of time.

Custom made mouth guards from your dentist provide perfect fit and long lasting protection. Dentist made mouth guards are also a lot more comfortable – allowing ease when breathing and talking. In addition, an effective mouth guard will have the following attributes: it keeps its shape, fits properly, is durable and easy to clean.

Often, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth, but your dentist may suggest a lower fitting mouth guard based on your mouth – another reason to seek professional advice for a mouthguard.

Taking care of your mouth guard

Once you have a custom made sports mouthguard, you’ll want to take care of it, so it lasts a long time.  Here are some tips for taking care of your mouth guard:

  • To clean it use an antiseptic mouth rinse or use toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Store your mouth guard in a firm container that allows air circulation.
  • High temperatures can cause your mouthguard to change shape – don’t place it under hot water or in direct sunlight.

Bring your mouth guard to your dental check-ups and bring any concerns about the fit or condition of the mouthguard to your dentist as soon as you notice.

Wearing a custom mouthguard is an important step in preventing dental injury for you and your family.  Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is a provider of custom made sports mouthguards in Nanaimo.  Contact us to book an appointment today!