Athletic Mouthguards

image14What is the number one piece of sports equipment that every athlete should have?  If you guessed an athletic mouthguard, you are correct!  A custom-fitted mouthguard should be a part of EVERY athlete’s sports gear. Mouthguards are not just for football, hockey, and soccer players.

Who should wear a mouthguard?

According to an Academy of Sports Dentistry statement on mouthguards, anyone participating in a sport that contains a chance of injury to the teeth, jaws, or oral soft tissues or which shows a potential risk of concussion could benefit from the use of a mouthguard. In general, anyone participating in a contact or collision sport could benefit from a properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard. Participants in an individual sport, such as rollerblading, which puts the athlete at risk, should use a mouthguard. A properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard shouldn’t interfere with an athlete performing any sport at the highest level.

What is an athletic mouthguard?

Athletic mouthguards are made of a soft, pliable rubber. They are custom fitted in the mouth or on a plaster model to cover the upper teeth.

Advantages of mouthguards

Besides protecting your teeth, mouthguards help prevent the tongue, lips and cheeks from being gashed by the sharp edges of your top (maxillary) teeth.  Furthermore, mouthguards help protect the athlete from concussions and jaw fractures. They do not allow much movement in the jaw joint and the guards actually absorb the energy from a traumatic blow to the chin so not as much force is radiated to the base of the skull.

When athletes do not have to worry about a mouth injury, their confidence is improved and they can concentrate more on their performance.

How do I know what type of guard to get?

There are 3 main types of mouthguards.  The least expensive and least effective are preformed guards and that are usually not very comfortable. The next type is a “boil-and-bite” mouthguard, which is able to be reformed several times to get a more comfortable fit.  Both types can be found in sports stores or in the sporting goods department.  The best fitting mouthguards are typically those that are custom made for the athlete.  These are formed to a model of the athlete’s upper teeth, and therefore offer the best fit and are the most comfortable to wear.

According to the American Dental Association, the most effective mouthguard should be resilient, tear-resistant, and comfortable.  It should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict speech or breathing.

Dr. Victor can also personalize your custom mouthguard by incorporating your team or school symbol right into the guard.  Contact Springfield Smiles to have Dr. Victor custom make a guard for your athlete.

For information on the proper care of your mouthguard, refer to the American Dental Association article on Mouthguards.