Mouthguards Can Save The Day

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Dental Injuries

Student athletes account for a significant part of the 15 million dental injuries and the five million cases of traumatically lost teeth that occur every year.

The Pennsylvania Dental Association recommends that both children and adults wear a mouthguard when participating in any sport or recreational activity where injury to the mouth can occur, including football, field hockey, ice hockey, baseball, basketball, softball, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts. Mouthguards can also help prevent more serious injuries such as concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, jaw fractures and neck injuries.

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According to the Academy of General Dentistry, an athlete is 70 times more likely to sustain damage to teeth when not wearing a mouthguard and almost one-third of all dental injuries are sports-related. During a single athletic season, athletes have a 1 in 10 chance of suffering a facial or dental injury.

There are currently four types of mouthguards available to the public, ranging in price and quality. They include:

-- Stock mouthguards: This type of mouthguard is the least expensive, but also offers less protection because the fit adjustment is limited. This type is often associated with difficulty breathing and speaking, and can sometimes cause gagging.

-- Boil and bite: When heated and placed in the mouth, the protector's lining material molds to the teeth and then sets.

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