The landscape of sports and sport-related activities has changed drastically over the last few decades, and along with that have come advancements in technology to keep athletes safe. Whether professional, collegiate, high school, or child, mouthguards are an important piece of equipment for athletes of all ages.
Similar to the way an airbag protects passengers in a car crash, mouthguards work to absorb shock upon impact and dissipate the pressure throughout the guard material instead of onto your teeth and jaw. In short, mouthguards dramatically reduce the chances of injuries like knocking out a tooth or getting a concussion.
Studies have shown nearly 40% of dental trauma among children can be attributed to sports-related injuries. Some people (incorrectly) assume there’s nothing to worry about if a kid chips a baby tooth – that couldn’t be further from the truth! From young to old, you should always work to protect your mouth from harm. Simply put, it’s about more than just the teeth themselves.
Generally available at sporting goods stores for about $10 or less, these mouthguards are essentially good as a last resort – in other words, better than no mouth guard at all. Because they’re “one size fits all,” they tend to be very bulky, foamy, and not properly fitted to your mouth. Because they’re inexpensive, they’re less durable and need to be replaced more often. In a pinch they do the trick, but they’re not the best option for long-term use.
This is likely the type of mouthguard you see most people using. Still quite affordable, often between $15 and $20, they’re fitted to your mouth by dunking them in very hot water then biting firmly. These are often the best option for kids, as they’re significantly less expensive than a custom-fit mouthguard but still do a great job at protecting the teeth and jaw. They do need to be replaced regularly, as they start to lose effectiveness with continued use.
When it comes to protection against trauma and concussion, custom-fit mouthguards are best. Because they’re tailored to your teeth, gums, and mouth, they fit snugly without being bulky. Most every professional athlete use this style, as they are much lower profile. This makes speaking and breathing easier. Due to the custom nature, they are quite a bit more expensive than other mouthguards. For that reason, we think they’re best for adults who regularly participate in activities like CrossFit, competitive sporting leagues, or other vigorous/contact activities.
Our dedicated staff at Lakeshore Family Dentistry is here to answer any questions you may have about mouthguards and assist in selecting the right one for your needs. We’re just a phone call away! We can be reached at 414.352.1600 in Glendale and 414.421.2303 in Greendale.
Once again, protecting yourself with a mouthguard is not limited to any age group. Whether you go with a store-bought boil and bite style or opt for a custom-fit option, the important thing is to wear one! After all, that victory will taste that much sweeter with all your teeth.