When it comes to sports, most athletes understand the importance of protective gear like helmets, knee pads, and shin guards. However, the mouthguard is one piece of safety equipment that often gets overlooked. While it might seem inconsequential compared to other gear, a mouthguard plays a crucial role in safeguarding an athlete’s dental health.

What is a Mouthguard?

A mouthguard is a flexible, custom-fitted device worn over the teeth to protect them from potential trauma during physical activities. It acts as a cushion that absorbs the force from a blow to the face from another player, ball, or other sporting equipment. This reduces the risk of broken teeth, cuts to the lips and tongue, and even jaw injuries.

Mouthguards are vital for contact sports like football, hockey, boxing, and martial arts. They can also be beneficial in non-contact sports like gymnastics and skateboarding, where accidental falls and collisions can still occur.

Types of Mouthguards

Mouthguards are the first line of defense against tooth damage, gum irritation, and jaw issues. They come in various forms, each delivering different levels of protection. Knowing which is right for you can improve your comfort and safety, ensuring your smile remains healthy and vibrant.

There are three main types of mouthguards:

  • Stock mouthguards: These are pre-made and can be bought at any sporting goods store. They are the least expensive but also the least effective due to their non-customized fit.
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards: These are made from thermoplastic material and can be molded to fit your teeth after being softened in hot water. They offer a better fit than stock mouthguards but are less durable or comfortable than custom-fitted ones.
  • Custom-fitted mouthguards: These are made by a dentist to fit your teeth. They offer the best protection, comfort, and durability but are also the most expensive.

Why are Mouthguards Important?

The integrity of your teeth and jaw plays a crucial role in overall oral health. Mouthguards act as a protective shield, preventing potential damage from sports injuries. They can also help avoid more complex dental issues like soft tissue injuries.

Prevent Tooth Damage

One of the most obvious benefits of wearing a mouthguard is the protection it offers against tooth damage. A strong blow to the face can easily result in chipped or broken teeth, affecting your appearance and being costly to repair.

In some cases, a tooth broken below the gum line will need to be extracted, which can result in subsequent bone loss if the tooth is not replaced with a dental implant.

Reduce the Risk of Oral Injuries

Mouthguards protect against cuts and bruises to the lips, tongue, and inner cheeks. These injuries may seem minor but can be painful and take time to heal.

Repeated injuries to the same location in the mouth can also disrupt the healing process and lead to the formation of scar tissue, ulcers, or keloids.

Jaw Protection

The power of a blow to the face from another player or sporting equipment can be enough to cause severe damage to the jaw, such as a fracture or a break. A well-fitting mouthguard can cushion the upper and lower jaw, absorbing and dispersing shock to reduce the risk of jaw injuries and even concussions.

Don’t Neglect Your Dental Health When Participating in Sports

A mouthguard is essential protective gear for anyone involved in sports. It protects your teeth and reduces the risk of oral injuries and even concussions. Investing in a good-quality, custom-fitted mouthguard is a small price to pay for safeguarding your dental health.

If you’re an athlete or have a child who is, don’t overlook the importance of a mouthguard. Call us today at (630) 896-7354 to schedule an appointment with Aurora Dental Group for a custom-fitted mouthguard.