Dr. Vaibhavi S. Patel
With back to school fast approaching and our kids starting after school activities or fall sports, this week we are going to talk about a very important piece of sportswear that can protect their teeth… a sports guard!
Whether they are playing sports at a professional level, high school, little league or even just an organized activity, a sports guard should always be a part of the equipment and to be worn if there is any risk of being hit in the mouth or jaw area. Football, hockey, lacrosse and ruby… These are the sports that probably come to mind when you think of “contact sports”. Players in these sports need to protect their teeth with sport guards. With the increased awareness of dental injuries and new technology, both baseball and softball players are beginning to consider sport guards too.
Sports mouth guards not only do they protect the teeth by dissipating the force of any direct contact, it also protects the tongue, lips and cheek lining. According to studies made by the American Dental Association, athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer a dental injury if they are not wearing a sports guard. Every year is estimated that around 5 million dental injuries occur and 13-39% of them are sports related. The cost to treat an avulsed tooth over a lifetime is between $5000 and $20,000. Besides protecting their bright smiles, sport guards can help athletes prevent injury to their tongue, lips and cheeks, as well as provide protection for them against jaw fractures and neck injuries. Just ask Astro’s Colin Moran that was carted off the field in the sixth inning during a game against the Orioles.
By looking at them, you can see why players answered the main reason for not wearing the conventional mouth guards is because they’re uncomfortable. Conventional sport guards are gag-inducing and they take away the ability to focus on the game itself. Especially in team sports, the athletes need to be able to communicate, drink and breathe. Bulky sport guards can get in the way, they often times get chewed on and sometimes forgotten about, which defeats the purpose of the sports guard.
A thin and custom fitted sports guard can help solve that problem and provide the safety that they all deserve. Custom fitted sport guards are thin and provide more protection by covering every corner of their teeth that conventional guards cannot do. With sport guards being thin and custom fitted to the players teeth, the mouth guards are often not noticeable. When it comes down to it, any athlete of any sport puts their body at risk of injury. That’s why protective gear is encouraged and a custom fitted sports guard is a small investment compared to the damage an injury could leave behind. Sport guards may not be the sexiest thing in the world, but a missing tooth can definitely be worse.
What are your thoughts? Should you wear a sports guard?