Ask the Dentist – Should I Wear an Athletic Mouthguard?

Ask the Dentist – Should I Wear an Athletic Mouthguard?

-by Dr Nicole Andersen

Athletic mouthguards have been shown to reduce the risk of dental injuries to those engaging in collision, contact, or high velocity sports. These activities have a much higher risk of dental trauma. Basketball, football, lacrosse, boxing, rugby, waterpolo, soccer, martial arts, wrestling, handball, hockey, and combat sports have all been identified as high contact and collision sports. Many non contact sports also carry inherent risk of injury, such as gymnastics and skiing, due to the high velocity nature of the sport. A 2002 study of over 70,000 basketball players showed that mouthguard users had five times less dental injuries than non-guard wearers. Further research is needed to determine the value in athletic mouthguard wear in reducing concussions.

The American Dental Association recommends that mouthguards should have enough
retention on the arch that has the highest risk of injury, which is usually the upper arch. It
should be made to have retention and protection of the teeth and the soft tissues of the gums, cheeks and lips.

There are three main types of athletic mouthguards.

  • Custom guards are fabricated at your dental office based off of a mold of your existing teeth. This type of guard will most likely offer the best retention and protection.
  • A boil and bite mouthguard is created and fitted at home and can be a great alternative to a custom guard if molded properly.
  • A stock mouthguard is a “one size fits all” guard, with probably the least adaptation to a persons teeth.

Please ask us at your next visit to Artisan Dental if you would like more information about
athletic mouthguards and which type would be best for you.

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