Protecting Teeth During Sports
The Canadian Dental Association says preventing dental injuries is as important to good oral health as regular visits to your dentist and personal dental care such as brushing and flossing. One of the key ways to protect your teeth, especially if you play sports or engaging in aggressive activities, is by using a mouthguard.
Players who participate in basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, squash, racquetball, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts, or even recreational sports such as skateboarding and bicycling, should wear mouthguards when practicing or competing.
At District Dental in North Vancouver, we offer a range of services to our patients to help them achieve the smile they desire – and protecting the smile you have with a custom fitting mouthguard. Our staff will be sure to explain all aspects of any procedure we perform and we will be sure that you fully understand the procedure and costs involved before moving forward.
The B.C. Dental Association reminds parents to add a mouthguard for each child to your list of school supplies. Sports Canada reports that, overall, 69% of Canadian youth participate in organized sport. A mouthguard also acts as a cushion to prevent broken jaws, neck injuries and concussions.
There are three options in mouthguards for adults and children:
- Stock or ready-made: Made of rubber or polyvinyl, they provide a generic fit with limited comfort, protection and durability.
- Boil and bite or mouth-formed: Requires heating in warm water and then the user bites into the warm plastic. The fit is not as precise and the heating process will also reduce the longevity of the mouthguard. Discuss this option with your dentist.
- Custom-made: Your dentist takes an impression of your mouth and the mouthguard is fabricated from a cast model of your teeth. It is the most durable option, can be modified for specific sports and patient’s needs and does not interfere with speech or breathing.
To ensure that your custom-made mouthguard provides for maximum comfort and protection, your dentist will consider a number of factors when fitting you for a mouthguard – the size of the mouth, bite, type of sport played, and whether or not the patient wears braces or other appliances are all important considerations. Each patient’s very specific needs must be addressed.
Once your mouthguard has been properly fitted, proper care for your mouthguard will help it take care of your teeth longer, including:
- Rinsing your mouthguard under cold water after each use and air-dry. Occasionally clean it with mild soap and water or mouthwash.
- Storing your mouthguard in a plastic container when not in use to avoid damage due to excessive heat and cold.
- Wearing your mouthguard properly. Do not cut or alter it and do not chew on it.
- Checking your mouthguard regularly and let your dentist know if it shows any signs of wear or has any tears or cracks that may weaken it. If the bite has changed and the mouthguard no longer fits well, it can sometimes be adjusted by the dentist.
At District Dental in North Vancouver, we’re here if you have any questions. Schedule your next appointment today.