If you play any kind of sport, particularly a full-contact sport, you should seriously consider investing in a specialized sports mouth guard. They can protect every part of your mouth, and even surrounding body parts, all without causing any reduction in your ability to play to your fullest potential.
Here are just five reasons to talk to your dentist about using a sports mouth guard.
1. Optimized Around Your Sport
There are other types of mouth guards out there, but this piece will start by underlining that you'll get the most benefit by using a specialised sports guard. These will stay firmly in place as you run, dive, and take knocks. They should also be designed to ensure that breathing is limited in no way, which will obviously be important while you're exerting yourself.
2. Protects Soft Tissue
When you think about parts of your mouth that you'd like to protect from damage, your teeth are probably the first things that come to mind. However, your mouth is also full of soft tissue, from the gums to the palate to the insides of your cheeks. Mouth guards will help prevent bruising or cutting if that soft tissue is placed under stress or mashed against your teeth.
3. Prevents Damage to Braces
Clearly this is only an important consideration for people who wear fixed orthodontic appliances, but it's one well worth bearing in mind. Braces are well-suited to putting up with the everyday stresses caused by eating, but they just aren't designed to absorb significant impact energy. Damaged braces cost money; even worse, you might knock them out of alignment and not notice. This could actually make your smile more crooked than before!
4. Protects Your Teeth
Almost certainly the most obvious reason to wear a mouth guard during sports is to make sure your teeth are protected. Any blunt force from unexpected knocks or full-contact play can easily damage a tooth. A guard will protect teeth from contacting each other. This prevents chips, and having a tooth completely knocked out becomes far less likely. Remember, hard knocks are tough on teeth even if no physical damage is evident – you could, for example, injure the underlying root structure.
5. Safeguards Against Fractures
It might sound a little far-fetched, but mouth guards can even help prevent fractures or other kinds of damage to the jaw. This is because they act as shock absorbers between the upper and lower jaw; any impact energy can be distributed more effectively. This can also serve to prevent neck-related injuries.