Everyone knows that the first thing to consider before playing any sport is getting the right protective gear. Whether it’s a helmet in football or shin guards in soccer, protective gear is important because it gives you the freedom to enjoy your sport while minimizing the risk of injury.
One of the most often overlooked pieces of protective equipment is the sports mouthguard. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), about one third of all dental injuries are related to sports, and an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. The major benefit of mouthguards is that they soften blows that would otherwise break teeth, cause jaw injuries, or result in cuts to the lips or tongue. They may also help reduce the rate and severity of concussions.
Mouthguards are usually made from soft plastic material, and they come in three types:
– the ready-made (stock) mouthguard
– the “boil-and-bite” mouthguard
– the custom fit mouthguard
These all provide varying degrees of comfort and protection, with a professionally made custom fit mouthguard being the best option since they are customized for each athlete and tailored to meet the demands of his or her particular sport.
If you’re playing a sport this season, think about how it would feel if you lost one or two of your front teeth … and then make sure you add a mouthguard to the list of equipment you’ll need before getting on the field!