Who should wear a mouthguard and when
Any child or adult who is involved in organized athletics and recreational activities should wear a mouthguard. In general, you should wear a mouthguard any time you have a chance of making contact with other participants or hard surfaces.
The American Dental Association recommends that people who participate in the following activities wear mouthguards: Acrobats, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.
Protection offered by mouthguards
Mouthguards prevent an estimated 200,000 injuries a year in high school and college organized sports alone. Unfortunately, about five million teeth are knocked out every year when mouthguards are not worn. Mouthguards protect the teeth, tongue, cheeks, lips and jaws from injury. By absorbing the shock of impact, mouthguards protect teeth against chips, cracks, fractures, damage and dislodging. They also help avoid more serious injuries, including concussions, jaw fractures and neck injuries, by preventing the lower jaw from making contact with the upper jaw.
A properly fitted and protective mouthguard is an important equipment investment, especially when considering the cost of dental work for damaged teeth. With a lifetime of care, repair of damage can cost thousands of dollars per tooth.
While in orthodontic treatment, a mouthguard designed for orthodontic appliances is recommended. Boil and bite mouthguards should be avoided to prevent loosening the appliances.
Protect your smile
Currently, five amateur sports require mouthguards during practice and competition: boxing, football, ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, and women’s field hockey. Many local school districts and state athletic organizations have their own policies regarding mouthguard use. With or without policies, anyone who participates in athletic activities should protect their smile with a high-quality, properly fitting mouthguard.