You should always use protection. Hockey, lacrosse, football, or any kind of contact sport runs the risk of knocked out teeth and other mouth injuries that can lead to a costly dental visit. Wearing a mouth guard is the best way to protect your mouth and is often recommended by dentists, parents, and coaches alike.
Advantages of Wearing A Mouth Guard:
They protect your teeth, jaw, cheek, and tongue from injury. Should there more reasons other than that? When you’re playing a sport and your tooth gets knocked or misaligned, you’re going to wish you had that mouth guard. You don’t want to end up with a set of fake teeth twenty years down the road because you didn’t wear a mouth guard. How will you enjoy food then? A simple investment will protect you from more visits to your dental office. Mouth guards are estimated to prevent about two-hundred thousand injuries every year.
But how do you choose your mouth guard? You’ll walk into your local sporting goods store and feel overwhelmed: there are all kinds of mouth guards made with different materials that you don’t know about, there are all of these colors, and some of them are flavored? Let’s break it down by type first.
Types of Mouth Guards:
- Stock Mouth Guards: Found in most sporting goods stores, bulky, pre-formed, ready-to-wear. Stock mouth guards do not give the best fit and always need to be clenched when wearing them.
- Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards: Found in most sporting goods stores, better fit. The name comes from how the mouth guard shapes to your teeth: you put your mouth guard in boiling water for an amount of time, let it cool, and then bite so it can form to your teeth shape.
- Custom-Made Mouth Guards: Usually made and fitted by a dentist, best fit, pricey, insurance may not cover the cost.
Prices of mouth guards can start at ten dollars and cost up to a hundred and fifty dollars, but at the end of the day, cost doesn’t really matter. Mouth guard prices in the middle range is probably a good start. The general rule of thumb is to find a mouth guard that protects and fits your whole mouth. It is also important that even when wearing the mouth guard, you are still able to breathe and talk. There is a lot of communication during sports, you want to make sure you can still communicate with your teammates when you’re wearing your mouthguard.
If you wear braces, you should find a mouth guard that is designed for braces. Most likely, you will have both a lower and upper mouth guard. Extra protection to keep those pearly whites straight and intact. I wouldn’t hasten to get to a dentist and get a custom-fitted mouth guard… unless you feel like your teeth are more prone to injury and would feel more comfortable with a custom-fit mouth guard. The choice is your’s. As long as you choose to wear a mouth guard, you’re already in better circumstances than if you chose to forego wearing one.
Thu Nguyen is writing on behalf of Austin Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. She doesn’t play any contact sports, but she’ll wear a mouth guard if she ever decides to take up football.
Photo Credit: gt8073a
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