February 25, 2018
With winter winding down, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief now that spring is right around the corner. And you know what that means — practice is already ramping up for spring sports!
If your student-athlete will be on the field, on the court, or on the track the next couple months, it’s important to take measures to prevent dental injuries. In some cases, the athletic mouthguard is a mandatory part of the uniform, and some school districts have said that properly fitting mouthguards help aid in the prevention of concussions.
At Appalachian Dental Care in Boone, NC, we’re able to provide your star athletes with athletic mouthguards that fit better and provide better protection than the ones you’ll find in the sporting goods store. And it’s not too late to stop by to have one made before the season starts to pick up.
Read on to learn more about how athletic mouthguards can prevent painful and costly dental injuries. Then, consider getting one for the athlete in your life — or for yourself, if you’re an active individual! Call us today at 828-355-5673 to schedule an appointment.
What Athletes Need Mouthguards?
For decades, sports dentists have been trying to get more college and professional athletes to wear mouthguards. In 1999, a sports medicine fellow at the University of North Carolina found that only 13 percent of players from 50 Division I men’s basketball programs wore mouthguards — and little has changed in the nearly 20 years since then. There is some hope, however, in the fact that N.B.A. stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry wear them.
The truth is, most people engaged in a physical activity can benefit from an athletic mouthguard. It may seem silly to ask a tennis player or track runner to wear one, but dental injuries can happen in any sport. Of course, those who play contact sports should certainly wear one, since the nature of the sport makes them more susceptible to accidents.
Increasingly, the governing bodies of various sports are making mouthguards a required part of an athlete’s uniform. Want to know if it’s mandatory for your student? Check with your coach and review your team’s guidelines.
The Efficacy Of Athletic Mouthguards
Though it’s difficult to know how many dental accidents didn’t happen as a result of athletes wearing proper dental protection, here’s what we do know. Studies suggest that athletes who did not wear athletic mouthguards were nearly twice as likely to experience an injury compared to athletes who wore them.
Another study of college basketball players found that players who wore custom-made mouthguards — like the ones we provide here at Appalachian Dental Care — experienced significantly fewer dental injuries than other players.
Think of mouthguards as a small insurance policy for your athlete’s smile; they minimize damage and make it less likely that you’ll need a costly curative or reparative dental procedure in the future.
Properly fitting mouthguards cushion the blow when something — like a ball or another player — makes contact with the face. According to the American Dental Association, properly fitting mouthguards minimize the risk of broken teeth and tissue damage.
Mouthguards Can Protect Braces
When it comes to high school sports, lots of athletes are rounding out their orthodontic treatment. For these players, mouthguards are especially important. That’s because dental trauma can dislodge brackets and other hardware. The same goes for athletes who have had extensive restorative dental work.
Getting a custom-made mouthguard helps ensures that your orthodontic hardware or dental restorations will be better protected. One-size-fits-all solutions aren’t a great fit if you need a mouthguard to protect your dental work.
Caring For Your Mouthguard
Generally, custom-made mouthguards are a higher quality than over-the-counter ones, so they should outlast their sporting goods store counterparts. That said, it’s important with any mouthguard to replace it as soon as it starts showing wear or — in the case of young athletes — when the athlete begins to outgrow the mouthguard. When structurally compromised, even a well-made mouthguard won’t adequately protect your athlete’s smile.
Beyond that, caring for a custom-made athletic mouthguard is simple! Rinse it before and after each use, and clean it regularly with cool, soapy water. Store it in a sturdy container that has some sort of ventilation. Then, bring it with you to dental checkups so your dentist can ensure that it’s still properly protecting your smile.
At Appalachian Dental Care, we consider our custom-made mouthguards just another important component of preventative dentistry! If you’re looking to protect your athlete’s smile — or your own — give us a call at 828-355-5673 to schedule an appointment!