Over 5 million teeth are avulsed each year as a result of sporting activities. About 13-39% of dental injuries are connected to sporting events. Common sports-related dental injuries include tooth fractures, intrusion, extrusion, and traumatic tooth displacements.
Despite the increasing rate of sports-related dental injuries, properly-fitted, custom-fabricated athletic mouthguards offer maximum protection against sports-related dental injuries. Most sporting activities require running at high speeds and even jumping. These events create different forms of impact with people and objects, which may hurt your oral health.
While keeping fit is good for your overall general health, it may be a nightmare for your permanent teeth and overall dental health. Hence, if you engage in sports, you may need a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your oral health and smile.
What Is Sports Dentistry?
Sports dentistry is a branch of dentistry that is concerned with the prevention and treatment of oral/facial injuries and related oral diseases during sporting events. Mouthguards are a vital part of sporting events for your oral health, as much as helmets protect the head against injuries.
Dentists play an active role in educating athletes and providing them with custom-fitted mouthguards to protect their face and overall oral health.
Custom vs. Stock or Store-bought Mouthguards
The American Dental Association recommends athletes of all ages should use a properly fitted mouthguard in any sporting activity to prevent dental injuries. Different types of mouthguards exist, but not all offer the same level of protection against dental injuries.
Custom mouthguards are made from durable materials. They are specially designed by your dentist to fit your teeth perfectly. Store-bought mouthguards, on the other hand, are difficult to wear. They do not fit perfectly and are constructed out of thinner plastic, so they fall off during sporting activities.
A better option for protecting your mouth is a custom-fitted sports mouthguard. Over-the-counter mouthguards will break within a few months and will not provide the same level of protection as custom mouthguards.
How Do Mouthguards Prevent Dental Injuries?
Mouthguards help minimize the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, jaws, and the overall oral environment during sporting events. Mouthguards form a protective barrier over your teeth and between the point of contact. This prevents your teeth from getting knocked out when you’re tackled during sporting events. Other areas of your mouth, such as your lips, cheeks, and tongue, are also protected.
For maximum protection, it is important for mouthguards to be proper-fitting. They should be comfortable enough to enable athletes to breathe correctly and also talk. Only customized mouthguards can provide all these unique features.
What Types of Sports Require Mouthguards?
Mouthguards are necessary pieces of equipment for sporting activities. The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for sporting activities characterized under the following categories:
Contact sports involve those types of sports where participants come into bodily contact with one another. That is, these sporting activities require physical contact between participants. Some of them include rugby, football, soccer, boxing, martial arts, hockey, and many more.
Action sports involve a high degree of risk. They’re characterized by high risks and speeds. Sporting events that fall under this category include skateboarding, mountain biking, skiing, trail running, board sailing, windsurfing, roller hockey, wakeboarding, BMX bicycling, inline skating, and many more.
Incidental contact sports
Incidental sporting events only involve the minimal or accidental chance of contact between members or athletes. Typical examples of incidental contact sports include volleyball and sprint races.
These sporting events are capable of causing traumatic dental injuries. Custom-fitted mouthguards will provide the most secure fit and also enable athletes to breathe and talk comfortably. Mouthguards for athletes are specially made by dentists using durable materials which are shaped to your teeth.
How Dentists Help Athletes Prevent Dental Injuries?
Injuries to the mouth occur too often during sporting events. All types of sports, including contact sports, action sports, and incidental contact sports, carry risks for dental injuries, which can significantly impact your teeth and oral health.
One of the best ways dentists help athletes prevent dental injuries from sporting activities is by creating custom mouthguards that are built to fit an athlete’s mouth. Mouthguards provide a cushion for the teeth and mouth and provide protection against dental injuries.
Dentists create customized mouthguards that are comfortable and match your activity levels depending on the sporting events.
Physical activities such as sports are great for physical fitness and physiological functions such as cardiovascular health, blood sugar, and stress levels. But if proper protection against your oral health is not in place, it may significantly affect your teeth, and hence your smile.