Physical activity is a key part of childhood (and is good for adults as well!), but the Australian Dental Association warns that playing sports without appropriate protection can be detrimental to teeth.
Estimates are that 20% of Australian children will suffer a dental trauma by age of 14, with much of the trauma occurring during sports activities. This is why EK Dental Surgery strongly believes that mouth guards are an indispensible piece of athletic equipment for children, teens, and adults who take part in high-risk/high-contact team sports.
In fact, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) have collaborated on a Mouth Guard Policy to make mouth guards required kit for registered players during training and games for sports including football, hockey, boxing, wrestling, martial arts, basketball, netball, and lacrosse.
Wearing a mouth guard during practices and games helps avoid serious damage to teeth, lips, gums, and face.
Choosing The Right Mouth Guard
The right mouth guard for sports should:
- Buffer damage to teeth, brackets and/or other fixed appliances from blows and physical contact
- Limit the risk of soft tissue damage
- Allow speaking
- Not limit breathing
- Provide a high degree of comfort and fit
- Be durable and easy to clean
- Be resilient, tear-resistant, odorless, and tasteless
There are three types of mouth guards available, with custom-made mouth guards far and away the best choice.
The worst choice is stock or commercial (OTC) mouth guards, which cannot be modified to fit an individual’s mouth. These are cheap and can be bought at most sporting good and department stores. They are least effective at protecting dental heath, impair breathing and communication, and stay in the mouth only when it is closed.
“Boil-and-Bite” mouth guards are boiled in water for and then formed to teeth by
biting down. While these are better than OTC guards, they wear down quickly, don’t work well with orthodontics, and cause difficulty in breathing and speaking.
The best choice is a custom-made mouth guard created from an impression taken
in the EK Dental Surgery office and sent to a dental lab for fabrication.
Custom-made mouth guards offer maximum comfort and protection by covering all teeth and cushioning the jaw. Custom-made mouth guards do not interfere with speech or breathing, are adjustable for all sports, and can be customized in many cases.
The proper mouth guard should be at least 4mm thick, particularly in impact areas such as below the molars and the front teeth. Mouth guard design may change by sport – There are some sports in which helmets protect the face from frontal impacts. In this case, the mouth guard doesn’t need a thick front and the protective function should be concentrated beneath the molars.
Finally, some science indicates that custom-fitted mouth guards can improve sporting performance! Some mouth guards give athletes up to 17% gains in extremity strength with less stress on the temporomandibular joint. According to Kinesiology studies, this helps relax and athlete’s for greater range of motion, flexibility, and balance — meaning athletic performance is actually enhanced by a mouth guard.
Modern mouth guards are constructed of state-of-the-art materials and can feature different options to personalize the guard so that it fits team colours, or the personality of the athlete. You don’t just get a piece of athletic safety equipment, but an awesome piece of team gear.
Taking Care Of Your Mouth Guard
To optimise your mouth guard, take good care of it. Wash your mouth guard in cool soapy water and rinse well before and after use. For maximum protection against germs brush your mouth guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste before and after every use.
Don’t chew on you mouth guard or keep removable retainers in your mouth with the guard in place. Finally, be vigilant and replace your mouth guard if it shows signs of age.
Custom Mouth Guards At EK Dental Surgery
At EK Dental Surgery our custom-made athletic mouth guards provide maximum protection with a perfectly fitting mouth guard that will last the season (Note – If you have a child, you probably need to get a new mouth guard each year; those jaws grow!). A custom fitted mouth guard will not fall out in the middle of the play and allows for easy communication during a big game.
And a custom-fitted mouth guard is a bargain.
The total cost to replace a knocked-out tooth can be 20-40 times more expensive than the cost of a custom made mouth guard.
So, call now to schedule an appointment to get your custom-made athletic mouth guard at EK Dental Surgery.
EK Dental Surgery offers a wide variety of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for kid, seniors, and everyone in between! At EK Dental Surgery we can help you achieve tip-top dental health and a movie-star smile!
Same day emergency appointment is available!