Sports Should Include a Mouthguard
A properly fitted mouthguard is an integral piece of sports equipment. They are not just for children and teenagers, injuries can and do occur at all ages. Mouthguards help to prevent injuries to the teeth, tongue, lips and jaw. They are certainly recommended for contact sports, such as football, basketball and hockey, but also for non-contact sports such as baseball and skateboarding.
There are inexpensive mouthguards that can be purchased in sporting goods stores and drug stores. Some of these mouthguards come in ready-made sizes, while others are made of material that can be heated for a more personalized fit. These mouthguards are generally inexpensive and the materials are not as durable as the custom mouthguards available from your dentist.
The most effective mouthguard is comfortable, does not interfere with speech, durable, and easy to clean. In most cases the mouthguard covers the upper teeth, but in some cases both upper and lower teeth should be covered. Factors that are important in the selection of a mouthguard include:
- The type of sport being played
- How often the mouthguard be used
- Playing the sport recreationally or part of a competitive league
- Is there any special dental treatment such as, crowns, bridges or braces
- The age of the sports player
- Are there still have baby teeth, or waiting for permanent teeth to erupt.
Consulting a dentist can help you select the type of mouthguard that is best suited to your specific need.
Whatever the type of mouthguard, care is important:
- Cleaning your mouthguard regularly with toothpaste and a toothbrush
- Rinsing it before and after each use with water or mouthwash
- Store the mouthguard in a proper container; that allows air to circulate
- Avoid storing at high temperatures or in direct sunlight
- Check for damage to the mouthguard, which may affect the fit and could irritate the gums.
No matter what type of mouthguard you are using, bring it with you to your regular dental appointment, so your dentist can make sure it fits properly.