What’s the go with mouth guards ?

We love our sports – basketball, soccer, footy, boxing, rugby, field hockey, water polo, lacrosse, netball, water skiing, snow ski racing, soft ball, baseball, BMX bike riding, squash, cricket, martial arts, volleyball… the list goes on!

These sports can be fun and thrilling but every endeavor carries a risk of injury. Some of these sports have a fair bit of contact but many times injury arises from unexpected collisions, especially when one is putting their body on the line for a taste of glory!

Mouth guards have an important role in preventing or minimising the injury sustained in both adults and children.

What does the mouth guard do?

Mouth guard, helps cushion and spread the impact from a blow on the face.

If there is a high force to a small area, the impact will be significant.  If the same force is spread over a greater area, then the impact will be less significant.  It therefore minimises risk of injury to the teeth, gums, jaws, and it may also reduce concussion. It will also reduce soft tissue injuries from biting tongues or pushing teeth through a lip.

Damage to the teeth or jaws particularly have the potential to be quite expensive to fix.  Prevention is not only cheaper than a fix, but certainly takes up a lot less time and is a lot more comfortable.  As much as we love seeing you, the less time needed in the chair the better!

When should I wear a mouth guard ?

You should wear it whenever you are playing or training for any sport that may involve contact to the face.  Some sports such as basketball or netball are a lot less likely to cause damage when compared to sports such as Aussie rules or Rugby, but where there is any risk, it’s usually a good idea to try and minimise it.

Can’t I just get store bought ones?

Ready-made mouth guard, or boil and bite mouth guard ,  are no doubt cheaper but as with most things that are cheaper, you get what you pay for.  They generally fit poorly, are generally more uncomfortable, but ultimately the degree of protection they offer is often only slightly better than not wearing one at all.

Custom-fitted mouth guards are made to the exact shape of your teeth and your soft tissues and therefore should be comfortable, fit well in all the right areas, have minimal effect on you speech and breathing, and it will generally be less likely to fall out.

Do I wear these mouth guards for life?

Mouth guards like anything in life are subject to wear and tear. Have them assessed every 12 months especially if any changes such as having fillings done or adult teeth coming through. Replace them if they are damaged. In HCF’s more for teeth program, they offer a profession mouth guard 6 monthly with no gap payment.

I’ve just gotten my mouth guard. How do I take care of it?

  1. Rinse in cold water after use
  2. Store in a rigid box in a cool dry place. The mouth guard can potentially warp under high temperatures.
  3. Soak your mouth guard in a 30%/70% solution of white vinegar/water every few uses to help keep it nice and clean.  A little mouth-rinse can be used to keep a fresh taste.

While there is never a guarantee when talking about accidents, a well fitted mouth guard will help to turn a little blow into a non-event, a big blow into a little blow, and a massive blow into a big blow.   In a similar way to a seat-belt reducing the risk of severe damage in a car accident, a mouth guard will reduce the risk of severe damage with an accidental knee, elbow or whatever in the face.

If there is any way that we can help you get protected for the season, then give us a call and we’ll help you out!

Good luck with the footy/netball seasons.
Play hard and have a ton of fun!

 

Written by Dr Wei Ling Tin