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athletic guards

The Importance of Athletic Mouth Guards


The Importance of Athletic Mouth Guards

The benefits of sports and athletic activities are numerous – they improve strength, coordination and reduce stress. Many of these activities also carry with them a bit of physical risk – including potential damage to your mouth. When we think of protective gear, items like helmets and shin-guards come to mind, but athletic mouth guards are just as important when it comes to negating physical risk.

The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) reported that as many as 39% of all dental injuries are sports-related, resulting in nearly $500 million spent on replacing teeth due to injury each year. We encourage you to evaluate your sports activities and related risks and consider having a mouth guard made.

The American Dental Association recommends mouth guards for the following sports:

Peter helping create custom mouth guards for our SOU Women's Wrestling team members!

Peter helping create custom mouth guards for our SOU Women's Wrestling team members!

  • Acrobatics
  • Football
  • Martial Arts
  • Skiing
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Gymnastics
  • Racquetball
  • Skydiving
  • Water Polo
  • Boxing
  • Handball
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Weight Lifting
  • Discus Throwing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Shot Putting
  • Squash
  • Wrestling
  • Field Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Skateboarding
  • Surfing

This list is not exhaustive – in fact, we feel that Mountain Biking is an obvious one to add to the list. The point is that many of the sporting activities we all enjoy should be included. Studies show that athletes are at a much higher risk of sustaining orofacial injuries when not wearing a mouth guard. These type of injuries are not just cosmetic. Injuries to the teeth and soft tissue can be very serious, whether it’s nerve damage or eventual periodontal disease.

It just makes sense to protect your teeth. But not all mouth guards are created equal. There are three main types:

1. Stock

These mouth guards are non-custom. They can be purchased at a store for immediate use. For most patients, they feel bulky and uncomfortable, which can affect the willingness of a patient to wear the guard.

2. Boil and Bite

Just as the name implies, these guards can be purchased at a store, then boiled in hot water (to make it more malleable) and then fit into the mouth and bitten down on to form. These guards are usually more comfortable than a stock guard, but they can be hard to get just right. 

3. Custom

Custom mouth guards are creating by a dentist to fit the unique shape of your teeth, which makes them most comfortable and most effective. Even if a patient is in braces, these guards can be formed to fit comfortably around orthodontia. The process is quick, easy and inexpensive.

If you are a patient or a parent of a child involved in any activity with the potential for injury, let us know. We’re happy to create a custom mouth guard to keep those pearly whites protected! Contact us to book an appointment for your fitting.