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Wear a mouthguard to play safe

The importance of a mouthguard is often underestimated. In some sports like rugby, boxing, or hockey, nobody doubts their value. After all, even with their mouthguards in, players still end up with broken lips and bloody jaws. However, in other sports, the mouthguard can be easily taken for granted or ignored altogether.

Mouthguards serve a variety of functions. They don’t just keep your teeth intact. They also protect your lips, tongue, cheeks, and jaw. In some cases, they’ve been said to minimise the risk of head injury and concussions, which can indirectly reduce the chances of sports-related brain damage.

When you break your tooth during a sporting event, you’re not just dealing with chipped enamel or cracked dentin. You might damage your roots and nerves, which could affect other parts of your body. The damage may even occur on the part of your tooth that isn’t directly visible, so the harm continues unnoticed and untreated.

Think about the kinds of injuries you could obtain on the field. Your tooth could be rammed deeper into your gum socket when you bump your head, causing pain, swelling, and infection. You could bite your tongue critically, which causes speech impediments and potential blood contamination. You could puncture your cheek or tear your lip.

These all sound ghastly, painful, and uncomfortable, and they can all be avoided by using a good mouthguard. Often, the worst damage happens in non-contact sports because players don’t feel the need for a mouthguard. The ADA (Australian Dental Association) recommends the use of mouthguards in cricket, netball, basketball, soccer, and other ‘non-contact’ sports.

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It’s a good idea for kids to wear mouthguards as well as adults. They shouldn’t just be worn during live games. It’s important to wear them during training and ‘practice games’ as well because the risk of injury is just as high during practice sessions. Sometimes, the risk is higher, because tension is low, which means players aren’t as cautious or careful.

There are some reasons why sportspeople may ignore mouthguards. One is the expense, another is ignorance, where the player may not feel they need one. Third – especially among kids – is the ‘cool factor’. They might think mouthguards look dopey and may fear being teased or bullied for their diction. If their friends aren’t wearing mouthguards, they might keep theirs hidden deep inside their lockers.

Fortunately, buying a high-quality mouthguard prevents this. Instead of buying a cheap mouthguard over the counter, visit a dentist and get it fitted for your teeth. Dentists make a plaster and design a mouthguard specifically measured for your mouth. This means it will be more comfortable, look less obtrusive, and have a smaller effect on how you talk.

Ideally, everyone should visit a dentist twice a year, and if they play sports, they should bring their mouthguard for inspection at every visit. The dentist can then adjust it to match newly grown or recently extracted teeth. The better the fit, the more effective your mouthguard is.

For more details on dental safety, call Dental Avenue Maroubra today on 02 9344 8822.

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