Did you know that 5 million teeth are knocked out every year in sports? As we return to outdoor sports and other activities, April is an appropriate time to remind you about the importance of taking a few precautions to preserve your teeth and be protected from facial injuries, whether at a practice, at a game, or simply enjoying some fun in the neighborhood. Most of our patients don’t realize that we make sports guards that will help protect your natural teeth, but mostly to protect the investment you may make at our office with your prosthetics.
We wanted to encourage you to wear the appropriate equipment for your size/sport and know when to replace your equipment. A chewed-up or poor-quality mouth guard or a cracked helmet is not going to protect effectively.
Why You Should Always Use Mouth Guards in Sports
No matter what sport you play we recommend wearing a mouth guard. There are numerous reasons for this and many ways that they can help protect your teeth.
Mouth guards can protect against displacing teeth
Imagine being hit in the mouth by a baseball. There’s no question it could break your tooth, but it could also displace it. That is, it could loosen it to the point that it moves easily and requires dental treatment. Mouth guards can help to distribute force over all your teeth, which keeps a single tooth – or several – from bearing the brunt of a blow.
Mouth guards can protect against injury to the soft tissues
While it’s true that teeth can get damaged when playing sports, it’s also true that the teeth can actually damage the soft tissue of the mouth.
Mouth guards can prevent jaw fractures
Anyone who sustains a blow to the head is likely to have their teeth come into contact with one another. When this happens, there isn’t much room for flexibility. However, if a mouth guard is worn, it acts as padding and can prevent the jaw from fracturing. Jaw fractures are serious business and can lead to surgery, so doing something simple like wearing a guard is well worth it.
Mouth guards can keep teeth from fracturing
One of the most important things that mouth guards can do is to prevent your teeth from breaking. If you do experience a tooth fracture, it’s likely that you can save it. If it’s fractured on the crown, where you can see it, then we can generally add white filling material to replace the fractured part. If it fractures and the dental pulp is showing, then a root canal will likely be required.
Mouth guards can keep you from knocking out your teeth
You’d be hard pressed to find someone who wants to get their teeth knocked out, yet many people don’t wear a mouth guard for their teeth when playing sports.
Mouth guards may help prevent concussions
While there is disagreement on this issue, some say that since mouth guards add padding between the upper and lower rows of teeth, that padding could lessen the force of the jaw as it pushes on the skull near the brain. As a result, the chance of concussion could be lessened.
When you consider all the reasons, one after another, that mouth guards can help your teeth, it’s easy to see that they should be worn when playing sports, whether professional, for school, or just for fun. If you have any questions about mouth guards or dental health, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.