Autumn brings more than just cool breezes and pending holidays. It’s also the start of several fall sports, especially for children and teenagers.
Getting involved in athletic activities offers tons of benefits, including regular exercise, an understanding of the value of teamwork and improved mental focus. Nevertheless, sports can be hard on the mouth, particularly the teeth, jaw and gums.
For that reason, dentists routinely recommend that their patients who play sports wear mouth protection to lessen the likelihood of experiencing a dental emergency.
Why Do Players Need Sports Mouth Protection?
Many sports involve flying objects and physical contact. Take field and ice hockey, for instance. Not only are pucks flying, but players are jockeying for position aggressively with sticks in hand. American football and soccer games can become intense as well.
At any point during these types of activities, players can be at risk of getting hurt. Sports mouth protection devices including personalized mouthguards provide a layer of protection over and between the teeth.
What Are Common Tooth and Mouth Sports Injuries?
Dentists see a number of tooth and mouth sports injuries in the fall and spring. Some of the more common concerns are:
- Broken teeth
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Jaw damage and misalignment
- Teeth that have been knocked loose or knocked out
- Bleeding, bruised or cut gums
- Bracketed braces and wires that have become loose or come off
Sports Mouth Protection and Concussion
It’s worth noting that sports mouth protection devices are more than just a preventive measure in avoiding mouth injuries. They have also been shown to lessen the chances of a player suffering a concussion after getting hit in the head.
Concussion events can lead to long-term complications like memory loss and severe migraines. Avoiding concussions— or at least reducing their intensity by dampening the force of the top and bottom teeth slamming together — has become a top priority for coaches, players and families.
What Are Sports Mouth Protection Options?
Though it might seem like a fitted plastic mouth guard wouldn’t do much to save and protect teeth and gums, it will. Even professional athletes wear mouth guards, which shows how widespread the practice of having sports teeth protection is.
Although sports mouthguards are sold in stores, they are typically poor quality plastic and not well-designed for individual mouths. In contrast, mouth protection oral appliances created by a dental team will be individualized for the patient. They’ll be comfortable and fit securely over the teeth, leaving nothing to chance.
Clear braces that rely upon plastic aligners, such as Invisalign®, may provide a certain level of protection for athletes as well. However, patients should speak with a dentist about whether or not their Invisalign® aligners should be swapped with different mouth protection for a higher level of security.
What Are Other Strategies to Protect the Teeth and Mouth During Sports?
In addition to wearing sports mouth protection consistently, young athletes can take other steps to keep their teeth and soft tissues healthy and intact:
- Wear all protective gear during practices and games.
- Follow game rules and protocols.
- Concentrate on the game and stay in the moment.
What Should Someone Do After a Sports Mouth Injury?
After any injury to the teeth during a sporting event, a player should seek attention from a dentist immediately. Waiting too long could result in more serious damage requiring significant intervention or even oral surgery.
How to Get Advice on Sports Mouth Protection
If protecting your child’s teeth in sports this fall is high on your priority list, get an appointment with your dentist right away.
Looking for a dental provider for mouth protection advice? Call Dental Choice for a consultation.