Did you know that sport activities are the most common cause of dental injuries? Dental injuries can be painful, disfiguring and expensive to treat. With the most common age of people suffering dental injuries being under 25, we need to make sure we do everything to minimise the risk and get the maximum lifespan out of our teeth.
We completely understand the importance of living a balanced lifestyle and would never expect anyone not to participate in such activities. That’s why we recommend wearing a custom fitted mouthguard made by a dental professional to provide the best protection possible.
Types of Injuries
Some of the common injuries we see include:
- Cuts to the lips, gum, tongue or face
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Knocked out or moved teeth
- Broken jaws
Custom fitted mouthguards are designed to protect not only the teeth, but also the supporting bone and ligaments as well as the jaw (temporomandibular) joint.
Not wearing a mouthguard at all is a major risk for dental injuries.
Any sport that may cause somebody to come into contact with equipment or other players carries a risk of dental injury. Some people are more prone to such injuries and risk factors include:
- Protrusive (or ‘buck’) front teeth
- Incompetent lips (inadequate lip coverage over the front teeth)
- Current orthodontic treatment such as wearing braces
People of all ages participating in contact sports should protect their teeth, face and jaws with a properly designed and fitted mouthguard. A well-designed guard should:
- Be comfortable to wear
- Be easily retained in position (not a choking hazard!)
- Allow normal breathing and swallowing (and not cause gagging!)
- Not affect speech
- Be odourless and tasteless
- Be thick enough to protect against impact (minimum 4mm)
A poorly fitting mouthguard can be a choking hazard if it is not held in position when somebody falls over or receives a knock to the head.
Caring for your Mouthguard
To ensure the cleanliness of your mouthguard, rinse with water and soap after each use and allow to air dry. You can disinfect it from time to time with a mouthwash or denture cleaning tablet. When not in use keep the mouthguard in a well-ventilated box. Avoid leaving anywhere that could get too hot (e.g. glovebox of a car or in direct sunlight) as the heat could distort the fit.
If your mouthguard gets damaged in any way then it is best to get it replaced. Adult mouth guards should last for several years unless there has been any change with dental treatment or tooth loss. A child’s mouthguard needs replacement every 12-18 months as growth and new teeth can alter the fit. If at all concerned take the mouthguard along to the dentist and they will happily check the fit.