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How to Protect Your Teeth When Playing Sports

April 13, 2017
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
cosmetic dentistry | manchester nh

Whether you enjoy slam dunking on the court, hitting the game-winning grand slam, or scoring touchdowns on the field, sports are a great way to stay in shape and have fun. However, these activities are also known to have a less than desirable effect on your teeth. In fact, it’s estimated that during the course of a single season, an athlete has a 1 in 10 chance of suffering a facial or dental injury. In order to keep your smile intact, it’s important to take some steps to protect your teeth during game action.

Wear a Helmet

Depending on the type of sport you play, wearing a helmet may or may not be feasible. However, if it is possible, be sure to invest in a helmet that fits appropriately and was designed with your sport in mind. For example, a football helmet is designed to protect your face as well as your head, while a baseball helmet is primarily designed to shield only your skull.

Wear a Mouth Guard

Ultimately, the best way to protect teeth during sports is to wear a mouth guard. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, athletes who don’t take the time to invest in a mouth guard are 60 times more likely to suffer teeth damage. Not enough evidence? Consider the fact that mouth guards are estimated to prevent around 200,000 mouth injuries a year in the sport of football alone.

A mouth guard works by slipping over the upper teeth, preventing them from the impact as well as preventing you from accidentally biting your tongue or lips. There are three main types of mouth guards, each offering slightly different levels of protection.

Pre-Made Mouth Guard

This type of mouth guard is pre-molded and designed to fit as many different mouths as possible. Because of this, they will often be uncomfortable to wear and might not fit correctly. However, if you’re on a budget, this is definitely the cheapest option and is far better than having no mouth guard at all.

Boil and Bite Mouth Guard

If you want a little more customization, try a boil and bite mouth guard. These guards are heated in boiling water to loosen up the plastic. Then, you’ll bite down on it to create a mouth guard that fits the exact shape of your bite. After cooling completely, it will harden up and offer a more comfortable solution than a generic guard.

Custom Made Mouth Guard

However, the truly best option is to have a custom-made mouth guard produced for you. This type of mouth guard is created by a dentist and is absolutely vital if you have any pre-existing dental issues. Your dentist will take a mold of your mouth and then have an extremely comfortable and tight-fitting guard produced for you. Unfortunately, the price can be a deterrent for some people, as this option can cost a few hundred dollars. However, if you’re a serious sports enthusiast, this small fee could end up saving you thousands in future dental bills.

Remember, just because you play hockey, doesn’t mean you have to look like a hockey player. If you’d like to talk more about mouth guards and other solutions to protect your teeth, contact us today.

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