Sports have always been an important piece in a healthy lifestyle puzzle. And like any other exercise or leisure activity, it requires certain accessories to keep you safe. But is a mouthguard on your list of accessories? And why is it so important?
A mouthguard is a mold of plastic created to provide security and stability to your delicate dental structure. Like any other safety gear, it is meant to protect from damaging injuries like cuts, tooth loss and broken bones.
Jaw Fracture/Dislocation: A mouthguard can be designed to comfortably fit your teeth and provide solid support and cushion against contact injuries. Often, the chin is the primary area of contact during sports and even an impact against the neck can prove dangerous to the oral muscles. The use of a mouthguard allows for proper protection against such impacts. It cushions the blow while ensuring that the jaw remains in one place and does not get dislocated or fractured. Mouthguards are made of soft plastic, which means the force of the impact is distributed evenly across the surface.
Tongue and Cheek Lacerations: During extreme physical activity, it is common for your mouth to experience intense movements that can cause damage to the tongue and inner cheek. The heavy jaw movement creates a risk of cutting or scraping the surface. A mouthguard covers the teeth adequately and reduces the risk of such an injury while allowing better control and stability of the jaw muscles.
Tooth Loss, Loose Teeth, and Gum Damage: A mouthguard’s primary role is to create a cushion around the teeth, including the gums. This allows for a complete covering of the surface and greatly reduces the risk of getting a tooth knocked out or completely dislodged from its root. It also reduces the risk of lacerations to the gum tissue.
Mouthguards are useful in preventing injuries during contact sports. In fact, athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the mouth when not wearing one. However, safety from concussion is not proven. Nevertheless, the relative inexpensiveness of a mouthguard encourages its extensive use in comparison to the risk of corrective dental procedures to repair the injuries.