Why you should wear a mouth guard
Dental injuries are no laughing matter. (Pardon the pun!) They are the commonest type of oro-facial injury sustained during participation in sports. When your opponent hits you in the face, you take a bad fall, or a ball flies in your face, your teeth can come together with such force that you risk losing them. A broken jaw is also a risk. If the hit is hard enough, the shock passing through your skull can cause concussion. An effective means of preventing dental injury is to wear a custom-made mouth guard.
Gum shields, sports guards, mouth guards, or gum guards… the name doesn’t matter. They all have the same purpose: to protect your teeth, gums and mouth. Mouth guards help prevent and reduce incidence of oro-facial trauma. In addition, they can also minimise the cost of these injuries. Some dental insurance companies will not cover the cost of treatment for injuries sustained during contact sports.
Types of injuries sustained during sports
Studies have shown that between 13% and 39% of all dental injuries are sports related. Common sports-related dental trauma includes:
- soft tissue injuries (e.g. lacerations);
- tooth fractures;
- tooth intrusion (the tooth gets jammed into the tooth socket);
- extrusion (partial displacement); avulsion (tooth is completely knocked out or tooth subluxation (tooth comes loose);
- and TMJ (temporomandibular joint dislocation).
90% of all oro-facial and dental trauma involves the upper lip, maxilla, and central maxillary incisors (i.e. front teeth).
What sports require a mouth guard?
The greatest risk of dental injury is in sports such as rugby, hockey, martial arts, and boxing.
Participation in fast physical sports or sports involving moving objects (e.g bats, balls, sticks and pucks) increases the risk of injury. You should wear a mouthguard if you participate in the following sports:
Acrobatics; American Football; Baseball; Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Cycling, Equestrian Events, Extreme Sports, Field hockey, Gymnastics, Handball, Ice hockey, Inline skating and Roller Derby, Lacrosse, Martial Arts and MMA, Racquetball, Rugby, Shot putting, Skateboarding, Skiing, Skydiving, Surfing, Volleyball, Water polo, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
The British Dental Association’s Position Statement on Mouth Guards
Read more about sports-related dental injuries on our blog.