by Dr. Albert Apicella
Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when NOT wearing a mouthguard. When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard should be an essential part of your equipment at any age. They typically cover the upper teeth and also are effective at protecting the soft tissues of your tongue, cheeks and lips as well as reducing the incidence and severity of concussions. Let’s examine more statistics from the American Dental Association:
- 80% of traumatic dental injuries occur to the top front teeth
- Sports related injuries account for 3 times more facial / dental injuries than violence or traffic accidents
- More than 5 million teeth are injured / knocked out every year resulting in nearly 500 million dollars spent on replacing teeth
- Mouthguards should be worn for all sports, and particularly contact sports such as: Football, hockey , soccer ,basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling and volleyball
There are three types of mouthguards:
- Custom fitted – These are made by your dentist or orthodontist.
- Stock – These come preformed but generally don’t fit as well.
- Boil and bite – These are bought over the shelf and heated in boiling water,
then fitted while still soft.
Once properly fit, it is important to maintain their condition by not chewing them, which can destroy the fit and keeping them clean, using a toothbrush, tooth paste and cool or cold water.
When in doubt regarding choosing a mouthguard, ask your orthodontist or dentist.