Did you know that athletes who don’t use a mouth guard are nearly 60 times more likely to suffer an injury to their mouth? And did you know that the mouth guard you choose can have a huge impact on how well your son’s or daughter’s teeth are protected from a blow to the face? Losing a permanent tooth can create a lifetime of problems for a young athlete, including impacting their smile, speech, eating and self-image.
Mouth guards are designed to reduce the risk of a blow to the face injuring – or breaking – your teeth or hurting your tongue, lips, face and jaw. They generally cover the teeth in your upper jaw and are especially important for the oral health of any athlete involved in a contact sport – football, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, rugby, and boxing. Mouth guards can also prevent injury in sports that don’t feature constant contact, like baseball or basketball.
While wearing any type of mouth guard is better than not wearing a mouth guard at all, certain types of mouth guards provide superior protection and have less impact on an athlete’s speech, breathing, and comfort while wearing the mouth guard.
So what are the three main types of mouth guards?
Stock: These mouth guards are relatively cheap and you purchase them already formed and ready to wear. However, they are usually bulky and ill-fitting and negatively impact breathing and talking. Those issues usually reduce an athlete’s performance.
Boil and bite: You can purchase this type of mouth guard at most sporting goods stores and often at drug stores or big box stores like Walmart or Target. You soften them initially in boiling water, then insert them into your mouth so that the softened mouth guard can shape itself to your mouth.
Custom-fitted: These are the best type of mouth guards because they are one-of-a-kind and made just for you. Your dentist will personally fit these to your mouth – it takes just 30 minutes for the fitting – and the custom manufacturing takes less than a week.
Among the benefits of a custom-fitted mouth guard from your dentist are:
- Comfortable fit
- Clear speech
- Enhanced breathing
- Better protection
- Ease of drinking
- Customizable colors
- Different thicknesses
Give your dentist at Dental South a call about making an appointment for a custom-fitted mouth guard. Your son or daughter involved in sports will thank you for protecting their mouth for a lifetime!
SOURCE: American Dental Association