Why Should You Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports?

When you picture protective sports equipment, what comes to mind? Helmets, gloves, shin guards, and face masks are easy to think of, but what about mouthguards?

All sporting activities have a risk of orofacial injuries due to collisions, falls, and contact with hard surfaces. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), about 32% of children who need maxillofacial surgery are injured playing sports. Wearing a mouthguard is the easiest way to prevent such injuries.

Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?

Sports that require or highly recommend mouthguards include football, lacrosse, rugby, ice hockey, boxing, and martial arts. Other sports—such as baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, wrestling, volleyball, and gymnastics—do not require mouthguards, but young athletes are encouraged to wear them. Kids, teens, and others participating in physically active pastimes—including skateboarding, roller skating, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and jumping on a trampoline—also benefit from wearing a mouthguard.

Reasons to Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports

Whether your child’s coach demands it or not, consider having a custom mouthguard made for your young athlete. Here are five examples of sports injuries mouthguards can prevent:

  • Broken teeth: Taking an elbow to the face can be enough to chip a tooth. Mouthguards offer a simple solution, shielding every tooth and reducing the chance of them breaking on impact.
  • Knocked-out teeth: A chipped tooth is one thing, but teeth are liable to be knocked out entirely while playing sports. Mouthguards act as a protective shield, absorbing the impact and significantly lowering the risk of dislodged teeth.
  • Tooth root damage: When teeth are bumped hard enough to displace them, blood flow to the roots may be cut off, causing the tooth to die. The tooth becomes discolored, but what’s more, bacteria may spread from the dead tooth to the surrounding teeth, gums, and jawbone. Wearing a mouthguard can prevent this irreversible harm.
  • Soft tissue injuries: As if damaged teeth weren’t enough, injuries to the tongue, cheeks, lips, and gums are also likely when an athlete is hit in the face. By encasing the upper teeth in a soft, rubbery material, mouthguards limit the ability to bite down on anything but the guard itself, protecting surrounding soft tissues from injuries that could require stitches or surgery to correct.
  • Concussions: Head injuries are a great concern for every parent whose child plays contact sports. And while helmets have come a long way, they aren’t the only tool that can keep athletes safe. Mouthguards cushion the blow and limit jaw movement during a collision, reducing the chance of a concussion when coupled with a properly fitted helmet.

Park 56 Dental is proud to be an authorized dealer of Under Armour® mouthguards and mouthpieces designed for full-contact and non-contact sports. Made from the highest quality materials and powered by premium Armourbite™ technology, athletes of all ages enjoy maximum protection while wearing these custom mouthguards. If you or your child is an athlete, call us at (212) 826-2322 today to schedule a 20-minute custom mouthguard fitting.