The Importance of Using Mouth Guards

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We’ve all heard the old English Proverb, “An ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of cure.”  Well in this case, when it comes to mouth guards during sports, that couldn’t be more true.

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) found that 84% of children do not wear mouth guards while playing sports because they are not required to, even though they may be required to wear other protective equipment. Mouth guards not only help save teeth, they protect jaws, as well. Individuals wearing braces have slightly higher risk of oral injuries,  if their braces are hit by a ball or other player. The America Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries a year.

Who needs a mouth guard? Mouth guards should be used by anyone, both children and adults, who play contact sports such as football, soccer, hockey, and baseball.  However, even those participating in non-contact sports and recreational activities (skateboarding, biking, etc.) would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.

There are different types of mouth guards available– stock mouth protectors, boil and bite, or custom fit. Custom fit mouth guards are considered to be the most protective and effective. However, when individuals are wearing braces, a custom mouth guard is not an option.  The reason is a custom mouth guard is made to fit a bite that does not change.  When braces are on, teeth are moving and the bite is in a constant state of change.   There are mouth guards specifically for braces which will not only protect your teeth, but also allow the braces to continue to do their job.  One of the such mouth guard is Shock Doctor for Braces. This mouth guard is adaptable to changes in the mouth structure as teeth adjust. The boil and bite mouth guards can get stuck around the braces and pull them off when they are being removed. Protecting your teeth while wearing braces are essential.

Generally, mouth guards cover you upper teeth only.  If you are wearing braces or other fixed dental appliances, your orthodontist may suggest wearing a mouth guard that covers your lower teeth as well. Your orthodontist can suggest the best mouth guard for you.  An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, durable, and easy to clean.  It should not restrict your breathing or speech.

Like any other protective sports equipment, a mouth guard will wear out and make it less effective. If your mouth guard has holes or becomes too loose, it can irritate the teeth and oral tissues. In any of these cases, the mouth guard should be replaced.

Mouth guards are one of the most important parts of any uniform!!

NFPM-Poster

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