Playing Sports This Summer? Don’t Forget Your Mouth Guard

sports, mouth guard

Wearing the right sports equipment can enhance performance and protects you from injury. Athletes at all levels must use the appropriate gear for their sport if they want to reduce their chances of getting hurt. While the need for helmets and padding is obvious, many athletes ignore the protection that a mouth guard can provide until they suffer the pain and inconvenience of an oral injury.

A mouth guard is a flexible plastic appliance that fits over your teeth to protect your mouth from trauma. According to the American Dental Association, you’re 60 times more likely to experience tooth injuries when you don’t use a mouth guard. The device is effective as a buffer against impact that can cause broken or missing teeth, jaw injuries, or lip and tongue cuts. The ADA reports that there’s also evidence that mouth guards can reduce the effects of a concussion.

It’s important to use the right mouth guard to get the best protection. Miguel A. Casañas Jr., DDS, and Publio Silfa, DDS, of Meadowbrook Dental Care in Mineola, New York, are experts in creating custom mouth guards to meet your individual needs and teeth structure. They work with athletes of all ages to create comfortable, well-fitting devices that offer optimal performance.

What kinds of mouth guards are available?

It’s important to get a mouth guard that you’re comfortable using. The ADA recommends looking for a mouth guard that has the following qualities:

When choosing a mouth guard, you have three general options.

Stock mouth guards

These are considered ready-to-wear because you can use them right out of the package. However, there’s no room for adjustment. Because of their clumsy fit, stock mouth guards can be uncomfortable or make it difficult to breathe when you’re using them. We don’t advise using stock mouth guards for your summer sport.

Boil-and-bite mouth guards

These types of guards are made of flexible, thermoplastic material and provide some customization. To get a personalized fit, you place the mouth guard in boiling water and then put it in your mouth and bite down to mold it to your teeth. However, because boil-and-bite mouth guards are made of thinner material, they don’t provide the best protection from impacts common with sports.

Custom-fitted mouth guards

Custom mouth guards offer the most comfortable and effective type of protection because they’re based on a mold we take of your teeth. Custom fitted mouth guards can accommodate all mouth sizes, dental appliances, a protruding jaw, cleft palate, or receding chin, offering the highest level of personalized protection.

When should I use a mouth guard?

Traditionally, mouth guards are used by athletes who play contact sports. If you or your children participate in boxing, lacrosse, hockey, or football, a mouth guard is typically a routine piece of equipment for all practices and competitions. However, the ADA says that wearing a mouth guard can provide important protection to athletes who participate in non-contact sports, too, such as baseball, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and skateboarding.

How do I take care of my mouth guard?

Using a mouth guard is just as important to preventive dental care as regular brushing and flossing. To get the most benefits from your mouth guard, keep it clean and in good condition.

Your family’s teeth are worth the protecting all year, and the kickoff of summer sport season serves as a good reminder. Schedule an appointment online or call our office to visit Meadowbrook Dental Care to find out more about getting and using a mouth guard.

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