By Kate Ranta on Apr 25, 2015 @ 10:00 AM
All athletes should wear a mouth guard any time they are participating in a sport. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) athletes that fail to wear a mouth guard are 60 times more likely to suffer injury than those that wear one. Therefore a mouth guard should be just as important as any other piece of sports equipment. A soccer player wouldn't consider going on the field without shin guards and a football player wouldn't enter the huddle without pads. Athletes shouldn't consider participating in sports without a mouth guard.
The importance of mouth guards in sports cannot be overstated. A mouth guard can prevent oral injuries including the following:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Damage to dental work such as crowns or bridgework
- Damage to the tooth’s root
- Injuries to lips and cheeks
- Tongue injury
- Fractured jaw
It has been suggested that mouth guards also reduce the rate of concussions. Concussions are a widely discussed topic as research indicates that they can have a lasting negative impact on health.
It is estimated that one-third of all dental injuries experienced in America are due to sports. In fact, the ADA believes that over 200,000 oral injuries each year could be prevented if all athletes wore mouth guards.
In some sports mouth guards are mandatory. Football, hockey and boxing are examples. However children and adults should strongly consider wearing them when playing basketball, softball, soccer, baseball and volleyball because incidental contact may cause injury. The ADA recommends custom mouth guards for many sports, including:
- Field Hockey
- Ice Hockey
- Martial Arts
Since accidents can occur at any time, the mouth guard should be worn during all practices as well as competitions. Even those playing recreational sports should strongly consider wearing a mouth guard if a possibility of contact or collision exists.
Regardless of whether you are a kid or an adult, it is important to wear a mouth guard in sports. Your dentist can help you determine what type is best for you. Don't hesitate to ask. You will be taking the first step to prevent a future oral injury. You may even prevent a concussion which may prevent a long-term brain injury. Wearing a mouth guard is a simple way to protect your mouth—and your health!