Dental tips provided by Burnaby Dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group
The arrival of spring means that many of us will be getting more active, spending more time outdoors, and for some, participating in more organized sports. In light of this, a recent study conducted by the American Dental Association in regard to sporting injuries to the mouth may be of interest, not just to active adults, but also to parents whose children are involved in various sporting programs and activities.
The ADA study examined the effectiveness of mouthguards in reducing injuries, and concluded that the overall injury risk was much higher in those who did not protect their mouth with a properly fitted mouthguard. Another study of collegiate basketball teams found that athletes wearing custom-made mouthguards sustained significantly fewer dental injuries than those who did not.
But surely such risks apply only to those participating in professional-level, fast-paced, high-contact sports? Not so. It has been shown that mouthguards are important for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact or flying equipment. This includes football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics, marital arts, wrestling, or mountain biking — any activity that might result in an injury to the mouth. In sports like hockey or boxing where concussions happen frequently at all levels, from youth to professional, reports suggest that mouthguards may actually help to decrease the risk of concussion by reducing the force transmitted by a blow to the jaw. Mouthguards have also been shown to reduce the severity of concussions when they are sustained. More than just protecting your teeth, a mouthguard acts as a barrier that may protect you from multiple risks, as a hit to the mouth or jaw area may cause neck injury or shock. In short, they are an effective way to reduce some of the risks without changing the game.
But what exactly is a mouthguard, and how can you go about getting one that will work best for you? Sports guards, mouth guards and mouth protectors are different names for the same thing: a device worn over your teeth that protects them from blows to the face and head. Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth, and are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips and other damage to your mouth. If you wear braces or other fixed dental appliances (such as a bridge) on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
It is essential though, that you have a mouthguard that fits properly, otherwise it may not be of any benefit at all. The dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group are able to custom fit a mouthguard for you, ensuring that you have optimum protection — and it does not cost a fortune. If you have been using a drugstore variety mouthguard, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but why not bring it in with you to your next dental appointment to have your dentist ensure that it fits well, is of the proper thickness, and provides adequate protection in critical areas, based on the sporting activity. It won’t take long, but it might save you your smile, as well as prevent a host of other injuries.
Additional articles are available from Burnaby Dentists at North Burnaby Dental Group.