Bad Dental Habit: Sports Without a Mouth Guard
You wouldn’t play football without a helmet, would you? Why play a sport without a mouth guard then? Going out on the playing field without something to protect your teeth is as important as wearing a helmet and other protective body gear.
Believe it or not, an estimated 5 million teeth are knocked out every year through sports. According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards prevent 200,000 sports-related mouth injuries every year. Those who lose teeth from rough play probably wish they had put their mouth guards in first. Wouldn’t you?
Who Should Wear a Mouth Guard?
Your teeth are vulnerable to being knocked out or damaged from high impact sports such as
- water polo,
- mixed martial arts, and
In fact the Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends mouth guards for more than 40 different sports.
A sports mouth guard helps cushion hard blows to the teeth and jaw. It has the added health benefit of protecting the soft tissues of your
- cheeks, and
from being sliced by your teeth. Not only that, some believe it may offer a little shock absorption to protect you from a concussion as well.
Choosing a Mouth Guard
When it comes to mouth guards, you have four choices based on level of protection.
- Light protection: These mouth guards are soft and bendy. They’re good for kids and low-impact sports like volleyball.
- Medium protection: These are soft like light protection mouth guards, but they offer more protection and are more suitable to rougher activity. Athletes playing basketball, soccer, rugby, and softball could get good use out of this category of mouth guard.
- Heavy protection: Like its name implies, a heavy-protection mouth guard is going to prepare your teeth for a stronger impact. Boxers and martial arts enthusiasts often use mouth guards at this level of protection.
- Extra heavy protection: This is the highest level of protection offered by a mouth guard. If you play a sport with a high chance of intense collision, such as kickboxing, this is the mouth guard for you. These mouth guards are also useful when playing sports that require a stick or racquet in close quarters, such as hockey or lacrosse.