What is a sports mouthguard and why should they be used?
A sports mouthguard is a hard plastic guard that is worn to minimise and/or prevent dental injuries in contact sports. Studies have shown that only 36% of children aged 5-17 are wearing mouth guards to protect against mouth injuries during active games and even fewer while training. This places a lot of children at increased risk of dental injury that could easily be prevented by having a custom-made mouthguard.
In contact sports there is always the potential for dental injury which includes – lip cuts and abrasions, chipped or broken teeth and restorations, injury to soft tissues – tongue, cheek, gums and in severe cases can cause irreversible changes to tooth nerve, loss of the whole tooth (avulsed) and jaw fracture.
A mouthguard protects the teeth and jaw from injury by acting as a shock absorber to more evenly spread the blow as well as protect the teeth from chipping/ breaking tooth/restoration from the impact.
What sports should mouth guards be worn for?
Mouthguards should be worn for any sport which is considered a contact sport or where there is the potential to experience a blow to the mouth. Common sports include football, rugby, boxing, soccer and hockey. Other sports and activities you may consider wearing a mouth guard are:
- Martial arts
- Soft ball
- BMX bike riding
What types of sports mouthguards are available?
The two main forms of mouthguards are custom made through your dental professional or over-the-counter varieties.
While the over-the-counter is a cheaper option, especially when looking at children whose dentition is constantly changing and growing, they offer less protection than custom-made mouthguards. Over-the-counter mouthguards tend to be poorly fitting, can be loose and fall out during play, and can hinder breathing ability.
Here at Dentalspa Geelong we recommend getting a custom-made mouth guard, which will provide your child with the best protection and give you peace of mind while they are playing sport. Custom-made mouthguards are unique like your child and are well fitted and comfortable to wear, increasing compliance in wear, even on training days, has better shock absorption capabilities and allows your child to speak breath and play unhindered.
And the best part of all, your child has choice of what colours they would like, whether it’s a favourite colour or favourite footy team themed, they are sure to enjoy showing off their new sporting accessory.
How to take care of a mouthguard
- When not in use, store in a tough ridged box so that nothing unforeseen happens
- Store out of direct sunlight. Heat can distort the mouth guard so that it no longer fits perfectly
- After use, rinse mouth guard in cold water or a mouth rinse and let it air dry
- Bring your mouth guard to your continuing care appointments to check that it is the right fit and there is no damage.
Your dental professional will let you know when you are in need of a replacement.
How often will a mouth guard need replacing?
Your mouth guard will be reviewed every 6-12 months. For children, as their mouths are changing constantly with growth, loss of baby teeth and addition of bigger, adult teeth may need to have their mouthguards replaced more frequently.
Call our friendly team on (03) 5223 1555.