The mouthguard awareness campaign of the Australian Dental Association is still a month away but with the winter sports recruitment season already underway for many sports, it is a great time to be aware of one of the most important pieces of protective gear—a mouthguard.
A mouthguard protects not only the teeth but also the jaws —and even the brain— from injury and trauma as a result of sudden impacts that can happen in sports, especially contact sports. That is why it is highly advisable to wear one not only during the actual game but during training sessions as well.
However, it’s not enough to wear just ANY mouthguard. Proper protection can only be provided by a well-fitting, customised mouthguard. It is also the most comfortable to wear.
A well-designed mouthguard fits snugly over the teeth and extends well onto the gums; this provides protection for the roots of the teeth and the jawbone. Just like wearing a seatbelt, a snug fit is important. In an impact, there is no room for movement- everything is held firmly in place.
Boil-and-bite, over-the-counter mouthguards do not offer the best protection from injury, as these tend to fit poorly. Off-the-shelf mouthguards sit over the teeth, typically leaving lots of space between the inside surface of the guard and the teeth themselves. They also tend not to cover the gums very well, if at all.
Many athletes find off-the-shelf mouthguards to be uncomfortable to wear; they are often bulky and may have rough edges, and can be so loose that the athlete has to keep their teeth tightly shut to hold the guard in place. Some athletes find they can’t breathe properly during exertion, others may gag if the guard drops onto their tongue. None of these things help the athlete enjoy and focus on the game!
There is no denying that custom-fitted mouthguards cost more than those found in pharmacies and sports stores. It may be tempting to save money, especially if there is no perceived difference between the two options. Unfortunately, store-bought options do not provide adequate protection, and may therefore represent false economy. The cost of rectifying the damage done to the teeth and jaws from a blow to the mouth can far exceed the relatively economical investment in a mouthguard that would have prevented or minimised the injury.
Mouthguards at Ailin Teo Dental Surgery
Athletes of all ages can be fitted with a sports mouthguard at our practice. There are a variety of colours to choose from, almost certainly one to match your team uniform. Customisations such as the addition of the athlete’s name and phone number can be provided upon request.
Learn more about Sports Mouthguards at our practice here.
Play your sport safely this season, and have fun!
Download Our Guide To Dental First Aid
Click here to download, and please consider sharing this information with others! If you are a coach, keep it close during games and training in case Dental First Aid is needed.