A common occurrence on every TV screen during the Super Bowl is images of burly players popping mouth guards in and out of their mouths between plays. Most of us…

Super Bowl Players Wear Mouth Guards

Super Bowl and Mouth Guards

A common occurrence on every TV screen during the Super Bowl is images of burly players popping mouth guards in and out of their mouths between plays. Most of us don’t give any thought to the protective device, but you may have more reason to consider wearing one than you previously thought.

Protect Your Mouth When Playing Sports

Now that the Super Bowl has ended, kids across the country will rush to sign up for spring football. However, they could do some permanent damage to their mouths if their teeth aren’t fully protected. This goes for baby teeth as well as permanent teeth!

Whether you occasionally grind your teeth at night or you play full-contact sports, a mouth guard can help protect not only your teeth but also the areas surrounding them. The American Dental Association says that athletes are 60 times more likely harm their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard.

Even if there’s little chance of hitting the ground while playing, many sports still have a high risk of tooth injury simply because of equipment. Racquetball, tennis, basketball and many others could damage your teeth just as much with a racket or ball.

What Is a Mouth Guard?

1Dental.com has a helpful article on mouth guards, including why you should wear them. There are several varieties, so how do you know what to choose? This article breaks it down for you. Here’s what to look for:

What Types of Mouthguards Are Available?

  • Stock – Stock protectors are fairly cheap, especially with insurance, and they come ready to wear. However, they often don’t fit properly and can be bulky, causing difficulties with breathing and talking.
  • Boil and Bite – These are available at many sports stores. They tend to fit better than stock protectors. They need to be softened in water, then put onto the smile to adjust to the shape. If you aren’t careful to follow the directions, it may not fit correctly.
  • Custom-Fitted – These are made by the dentist specifically for you. They cost the most, but with insurance to help you out, they should fit better than anything you can get from a store.

Should I Wear a Mouthguard with Braces?

Mouth guards are especially important for anyone with braces or bridge work. A blow to the face could damage brackets or other orthodontics. It can also provide a barrier between braces and your cheek or lips. This limits the risk of injuries to the soft tissues. If you are interested in getting a guard, talk to your dentist or orthodontist to find out what will provide the best protection. If you have braces on your lower teeth, they may suggest using one on these teeth as well. Do not wear retainers or other removable appliances during any contact sports. If you do sustain an oral injury, insurance may help pay for restorative work.

If you or your children play sports or even grind or clench your teeth, you may want to consider a mouth guard. It may not be very glamorous, but a mouth injury is even less glamorous. Consider it an investment for your future smile.

To learn more about the harms of grinding your teeth, read this article from the Sane Dentist blog called “Three Reasons You Need a Mouth Guard for Bruxism.”

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