What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a flexible appliance made out of plastic that
is worn in athletic and recreational activities to protect teeth
Why should I wear a mouthguard?
To protect your mouth from the injuries
listed below. The dental profession
unanimously supports the use of mouthguards in a variety of
mouthguards are better than store-bought because they conform to your
actual bite and are made of more durable material!
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of injuries can a mouthguard prevent?
Mouthguards can prevent
serious injuries such as:
- Lacerations to lip, cheek and chin
- Fractures of the facial bones especially the check
bones and mandible which can cause facial deformity
- Possible permanent injury to the jaw joints
- Broken teeth
- Tooth knocked out or displaced from its socket
- Cerebral hemorrhages
- Incidents of unconsciousness
- Neck injuries by helping to avoid situations where
the lower jaw gets jammed into the upper jaw
- Preventing laceration and bruising of the lips
and cheeks, especially for those who wear orthodontic appliances
Young children, in particular, often
sustain damaged or
dislodged teeth, fractured jaws and lacerated lips when
participating in sports.
In what types of sports should
I wear a mouthguard?
Anytime there is a strong chance
for contact with other participants or hard surfaces,
it is advisable to wear a mouthguard. Players who
Currently, five sports at the
amateur level require mouthguards during
practice and competition:
|men's lacrosse |
|women's field hockey|
Sports related injuries
accounted for 3x more facial/dental injuries than violence or traffic
accidents and 6x more than work related accidents!~
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Aren't mouthguards only for football
and hockey players?
Recent findings show that soccer
players are more likely than football players to
sustain an orofacial injury and only 7% of the
participants wear them.
In basketball, a player's
risk is twice that of a football player of an injury and
yet only 7% of the baseball or even softball players
wear mouth guards. Basketball players who do
not wear mouthguards have a seven fold increase in
chances of orofacial injury.
people currently participate in organized soccer than
in competitive football, where mouthguards are not
mandatory. Even in football, a sport requiring
protective gear, only about 75% of the athletes wear their
Since 1962 when it became a requirement to wear mouth
guards in high school and college football during practice session and competition
the percentage of orofacial injuries dropped from 50% to.5%
Children between the ages of 7-10 have the highest
number of injuries in unorganized sporting accidents with basketball
causing the most of these injuries followed by biking and hockey.
The highest incidence of all sport-related injury
occurred between 10-19 age group~
Mouthguards prevent between 100,000 to 200,000 oral injuries
per year in professional football alone.
Why don't kids wear mouthguards?
Parents are sometimes uninformed
about the level of contact and potential for serious
dental injuries involved with sports in which the
Schools don't reinforce the health advantage of mouthguards for
their contact sports.
Cost may be another
consideration although mouthguards come in a variety
of price ranges.
Perception that females are less aggressive and less
at risk of injury.
Coaches unaware of the importance of use of
32% of all injuries
occurred in women/girls and 68% in men/boys
What are the different
types of mouthguards?
The ideal mouthguard:
|Protects teeth, soft tissue, bone structure, and TM
|Diminishes incidence of concussions and neck injuries|
|High power absorption and power distribution
|High degree of comfort and fit to maxillary arch|
|Remains securely and safely in place during action|
|Allow speaking and does not limit breathing|
|Is durable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless and
mouthguard: The lowest cost option is a
stock item, which offers the least protection. A
stock mouthguard is not considered acceptable as an
facial protective device
|Disadvantages: Limited sized
|do not fit well|
|require the jaws to be closed to hold the guard
|uncomfortable causing players not to wear them|
|no fit adjustment|
protectors: These mouthguards come as a
shell-liner and "boil-and-bite" product. The
shell is lined with acrylic or rubber. When placed in
an athlete's mouth, the protector's lining material
molds to the teeth and is allowed to set.
The lining of the
"boil-and-bite" mouthguard is immersed in
boiling water for 10-45 seconds, transferred to cold
water and then adapted to the teeth. The
"boil-and-bite" mouthguard is used by more
than 90 percent of athletes who use mouthguards.
Custom-made mouth protectors:
The best choice is a mouthguard custom-made by
your dentist. It offers:
|best protection by reducing:
|enable you to be more competitive, because you
can perform with confidence|
|least likely to interfere with speech or
How should I care for
|Clean your mouthguard by washing it with soap and
warm (not hot) water.
|For more tips on mouthguard home care visit:|
Mouthguard Home Care
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How often should I replace
my child's mouthguard?
Depending on the child's growth, mouthguards may
need to be replaced once a year
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~Dentofacial Trauma in
Sport Accidents; Dr. Tuli, Dr. Hachl, Fr.
Hohlriender, Dr. Grubwieser, Fr. Gassner;
General Dentistry. pgs 274-280; May June
Academy of General Dentistry.
What you must know about
mouthguards. Ms Smith, Ms
Kracher. Dental Equipment and
Materials Vol 7.1 January 2002 pg. 32-37.
** Gutmann JL, Gutmann MSE, Cause,
incidence, and prevention of trauma to
teeth. Dental Clin North Am 1995; 39 1-13.
February 06, 2008