Playing contact sports? Just enrolled your child into a contact sport? Or maybe school non-contact sports are getting rougher as your child gets older? Either way, mouthguards are a crucial safety measure when playing sports, so here is what you need to know.
It is projected by the Australian Dental Association that one-third of traumatic dental injuries are sports related. This, combined with that fact that 50% children experience some form of dental injury, according to Sports Medicine Association Australia, provides a pretty compelling argument to get a sports mouthguard fitted. Especially considering the amount of sports played by Australians throughout childhoods and into their teenage years.
Mouthguards are crucial for all contact and ball sports. Some sports won’t even let you play without mouthguards, which is very wise. Please note that you don’t need to be playing sports at a high level to warrant a mouthguard. They should be worn by all skill levels as mouths are worth protecting!
Here is a brilliant example for you. We know of a teenager who was playing softball in PE at school. She was standing in line to bat, when the student before her, released her bat as she ran to the first base. Instead of the bat dropping to the ground it flew towards the girl waiting in line. It hit her, with force, in the mouth. This girl was not wearing a mouthguard and sustain major mouth damage as a result! Accidents in sport happen all the time. It’s not worth of the risk, wear a mouthguard! Sports Medicine Australia actually suggest wearing a mouthguard any time you are on a sporting field.
Mouthguards aren’t just for sport. They can be prescribed by dentists to prevent teeth grinding (often in your sleep) or for certain jaw issues. Also, mouthguards have been known to help treat snoring and sleep apnoea.
Benefits of custom fitted mouthguards
Basically, any mouthguard that is fitted by a dental professional is considered a custom-fitted mouthguard.
The dentist will ensure the mouthguard is at least 4mm thick, with the necessary cushioning effect that provides the desired protection against impact.
As the mouthguard fits so snuggly, it is still possible to talk, which is important for most sports.
Various studies have concluded that there is no negative impact on the performance or strength of an athlete who wears a custom-fit mouthguard.
In nearly all sports-related dental injuries, the cost of getting a custom-fit mouthguard is much cheaper than the cost of fixing the injuries sustained as a result of not wearing a mouthguard.
Why not just boil-and-bite?
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are the kits you buy over the counter. These kits involve, having boiled water in a dish, where you submerged the mouthguard to soften. After a designated amount of time, the mouthguard will be removed for moulding. It will be placed in the mouth and bitten down on, to mould to your teeth.
There are a couple drawbacks to the cheap boil-and-bite mouthguards, here are some of the more significant ones:
Do not fit very well.
- This can hinder the sports performance, as athletes have to keep their mouths closed in order to keep the mouthguard in place properly.
- Breathing difficulties can then be caused.
- When mouthguards don’t fit well, they can be very uncomfortable.
Hard to talk. With these ill-fitting guards, speaking is often impossible, coming out as slurs and mumbles. This makes it difficult to communicate when playing a sport.
When fitting the boil-and-bite mouthguards, there is a significant decrease in thickness when they are bitten into place for moulding. This decrease in thickness decreases the effectiveness of the mouthguard.
Our mouthguard process
At Proactive Dental, mouthguards are a quick process. The appointment to mould your mouth (making an impression) will take less than 15 minutes. Then you will just be required to pick it up another day later in the week. However, the mouthguard can be made faster to meet a specific client deadline. After all, we want to make sure your teeth are protected!