Engaging in sports and physical activities is an excellent way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it comes with certain risks, including the potential for dental injuries. Whether you’re playing contact sports like football and hockey or non-contact sports such as basketball and cycling, dental injuries can occur. Calgary orthodontists and dental professionals emphasize the importance of protecting your teeth with mouth guards. In this article, we will explore the role of mouth guards in preventing sports-related dental injuries and why they are crucial for athletes of all ages.
The Importance of Mouth Guards
Mouth guards, also known as sports guards or athletic mouth protectors, are essential pieces of protective equipment for athletes. They are designed to fit over the teeth and gums, providing a cushioning barrier that absorbs and disperses the force of impact, reducing the risk of dental injuries. Here are some key reasons why mouth guards are crucial in sports:
- Prevention of Dental Injuries
The primary purpose of a mouth guard is to prevent dental injuries during sports activities. A properly fitted mouth guard can protect against chipped or broken teeth, knocked-out teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, and soft tissues of the mouth.
- Protection for Orthodontic Appliances
For individuals with braces or other orthodontic appliances, mouth guards are even more important. A blow to the face can damage the braces and cause injury to the cheeks and lips. Custom-fitted mouth guards, recommended by Calgary orthodontists, can be designed to accommodate orthodontic appliances, providing an extra layer of protection.
- Reduction of Concussion Risk
Recent studies suggest that mouth guards may also help reduce the risk of concussion in some sports. While the primary focus is dental protection, the shock absorption provided by a mouth guard can potentially mitigate the force transmitted to the head during an impact.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three main types of mouth guards to choose from:
- Stock Mouth Guards: These are pre-made, one-size-fits-all mouth guards that can be purchased at sporting goods stores. They are the most affordable option but offer the least protection and comfort since they are not customized to fit your mouth.
- Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards: These mouth guards can be bought over the counter and are designed to be softened in boiling water and then molded to your teeth by biting down on them. While they offer a better fit than stock mouth guards, they may not provide the same level of protection as custom-fitted options.
- Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards: These are the best choice for athletes seeking optimal protection and comfort. Calgary orthodontists and dentists can create custom-fitted mouth guards by taking impressions of your teeth. These guards offer the best fit, protection, and ease of breathing and speaking, making them ideal for serious athletes.
Preventing sports-related dental injuries is a crucial aspect of athletic safety. Mouth guards play a vital role in reducing the risk of dental trauma, protecting orthodontic appliances, and potentially minimizing the risk of concussions. Calgary orthodontists and dental professionals recommend athletes of all ages and levels of play to invest in custom-fitted mouth guards to ensure maximum protection and enjoyment of sports without the fear of dental injuries. Prioritizing oral health and safety through the use of mouth guards can help athletes focus on their performance and well-being on the field or court.