Do Mouth Guards Prevent Teeth and Mouth Injuries in Athletes

Do Mouth Guards Prevent Teeth and Mouth Injuries in Athletes
May 03 08:28 2014 Print This Article

Teeth and Mouth InjuriesThere are lots of sporting events for sports fans to look forward to this summer with the FIFA World cup and the Commonwealth games taking place in Glasgow about to begin.

Whilst watching sporting events and getting caught up in the excitement it can often encourage us to become more active and participate in sports. Although this is good for your health and wellbeing it’s important to stay injury free and protect your mouth especially when taking part in contact sports such as Football and Rugby.

Last month Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta lost a tooth in a clash with Hull’s George Boyd which shows even professionals need to be more careful and consider wearing a mouth guard.

The Exeter Dental Centre treat a lot of traumatic emergencies on the weekend are on the increase due to sporting injuries with University sports teams and numerous other amateur and professional clubs in the Exeter area. The Exeter dentist is also the only dentist in the city open on a Sunday.

After Saturday matches patients who call the practice to arrange emergency dental care in Exeter for procedures such as putting a tooth back in or repairing broken parts.  They see patients who have anything from a chipped or lost a tooth.

Owner & Principal Dentist, Mike Hesketh said: “We always advise our patients to wear a protective gum shield for your teeth whilst playing contact sports and equestrian eventing as well. They can be made in your team colours and they cost around £120 and can massively reduce dental bills in the future.”

“If a tooth has come out of the mouth completely, it can be gently rinsed in water and placed back in the hole it came out from. Make sure you don’t touch the root part that goes into the jaw because it will need splinting by a dentist.

“Another case is when the tooth is chipped and it bleeds.  Here the nerve or ‘pulp’ in the tooth is exposed which can lead to pain and infection.  This will need to be treated by a dentist quickly.

“Teeth can also just be ‘bruised’.  This is where it has not chipped or been lost completely but has been bashed so the ligaments that it sits in are bruised.  Like any bruise this may take a week or two to completely heal.”

What is a mouth guard?
A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw.

The types of dental injuries that can occur without the use of a mouth guard are chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, fractured jaws, and concussions. Any athlete may be at risk for oral injury and any injury can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard.

New mouthguards are designed to fit comfortably in the mouth and are not bulky, allowing easy speech, swallowing and breathing. The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) claims that conventional mouthguards do not work with braces because the teeth are shifting, which means they become ill- fitting very quickly. There are several different types of ‘ortho-guard’ mouthguards specially designed to fit over fixed braces and the BOS recommends that this is the best type to use with a fixed brace.

Your orthodontist will give you advice on the most appropriate mouthguard for your needs.

Some companies are now making special off the shelf ‘ortho-guard’ mouth guards for patients with braces which feature a channel or trough to accommodate the brace and allow for tooth movement. ‘Boil and bite’ mouth guards can be shaped to fit by softening in boiling water and then sucked to mould to the contours of the mouth. This means that as the teeth move, the mouth guard can be remoulded to adapt to the new shape of the mouth.

Custom-made mouth guards
Due to the movement of teeth during orthodontic treatment, a tailor-made mouth guard would need to be changed frequently and may not a suitable option for the orthodontic patient (unless the fixed appliance has been fully fitted before the mouth guard is made). The custom-made mouthguard supplier should make the guard so it allows the teeth to move during treatment and must instruct the user about how to modify the mouth guard if it becomes too tight.

How often will I need to replace my mouthguard?
Check that the biting surface hasn’t flattened, worn away or become thin over the biting edges of the front teeth, allowing the player to bite through the plastic during use. Once damaged, the mouthguard may fail in its ‘duty’ to protect. The mouth guard should also be inspected regularly to check its fit; this is particularly important for children who are still growing and for those who wear orthodontic braces.

Emergencies can happen on at any time or day of the week whether it’s a sporting injury or a dental problem such as tooth ache there is no need to suffer any longer Call 01392 272350 For a Rapid Rescue Appointment.

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Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan is a health enthusiast and has written several health articles for various health magazines.

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