3 Reasons to Protect Teeth by Wearing a Mouthguard
It’s easy to get in the mindset that you are just riding your bike a few blocks,
you are just playing a pickup game at the park, or it is just practice, so “why
wear a helmet or protective gear?”
The truth is, practicing sports safety is important for everyone—adults, kids, casual
participants, weekend warriors, professionals, and rec-league devotees alike. Mouthguards
are no exception.
Here are the top 3 reasons you and your child should wear one:
- They prevent oral injuries
An estimated 3 million teeth are knocked out in youth sporting events annually,
and athletes who do not wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to sustain damage
to their teeth, according to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation.
Mouthguards help prevent chips, cracks, knockouts and other impact-related injuries.
The Academy of General Dentistry recommends their use in sports
and activities that pose a strong likelihood for contact with other players and
hard surfaces. Examples include soccer, football, wrestling, rugby, martial arts,
skateboarding, bicycling, inline skating, softball and lacrosse.
- They save you money
Mouthguards don’t cost much. Orofacial and dental injuries cost a lot—not to mention
the physical price you pay for the pain they induce.
Stock mouthguards, which may be purchased at a drug or sporting goods store cost
anywhere from less than a dollar to $5. Boil and bite mouthguards, which may also
be purchased at such retailers, are slightly more customizable and run from $5 to
$50. A more comfortable custom-fit mouthguard can be obtained through your dentist
and will cost around $200 or more.
All of these options are a better bargain than the hundreds to thousands charged
for repairing or replacing an avulsed—that is, knocked out—tooth or fixing other
injuries to the mouth, jaw or face.
- They may prevent or reduce concussions
There is much debate and more research is needed, but mouthguards may prevent concussions
or at least limit their severity. The thought behind this theory is that a mouthguard
absorbs some of the impact that would go to the brain following a blow to the jaw
Some manufacturers claim their mouthguards prevent concussion, but there is not
published scientific evidence backing such claims. Regardless, you and your child
should wear them to prevent orofacial and dental injuries—and know you may get the
added benefit of lessening or preventing concussions.
An American Association of Orthodontists survey found that
84 percent of children do not wear mouthguards because they are not required to
wear them. By wearing one yourself, you set a good example. If your child
is reluctant, make sure the topic is discussed at his or her next dental exam. Consider
a custom-fit version for improved comfort and breathing ability.