Also known as a mouthguard, a sports guard is an appliance that is used to protect your teeth from blows to the face, most commonly received while playing sports.
It’s safe to say that it is every parent’s nightmare to get a call that your son or daughter has been injured while playing at school. The good news is that many types of accidents can be prevented or minimized if the proper equipment is worn during sports and other physical activity. Protecting your child’s teeth is not an exception.
Remember, mouthguards aren’t just for adults. That’s why you should add a mouthguard for each child to your list of school supplies. Protecting your child’s head, jaw, and teeth, even for seemingly non-contact sports, is very important. Mouthguards not only protect the teeth. They may also prevent serious injuries by helping to avoid situations where the lower jaw and teeth are forced up against the upper teeth and jaw.
Sports Canada reports that overall, 69 percent of Canadian youth participate in organized sport. In any sport, whether it’s full-contact hockey or a friendly game of racquetball, a little preparation can prevent costly and sometimes painful mistakes later on.
Who should wear a mouthguard?
Anyone playing contact sports or engaging in aggressive activities should wear a mouthguard. Any sport with a strong chance for contact with other participants or hard surfaces requires mouth protection. Players who participate in basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, squash, racquetball, lacrosse, rugby, in-line skating and martial arts, or even recreational sports such as skateboarding and bicycling, should wear mouthguards when practicing or competing. Many athletes resist wearing a mouthguard because of bulkiness and poor fit. Custom-made mouthguards are the most comfortable, non-bulky and form fitting.
There are three main types of sports guards:
- Stock – This type of sports guard is very popular, as it comes pre-formed from the store, and is ready to wear immediately upon purchase. It is worth noting that they are usually less expensive than the other kinds of guards, but remember that you get what you pay for. The downside is that they can be bulky and uncomfortable, sometimes make breathing or speaking difficult, and have to be replaced often because they wear out rather quickly.
- Boil and Bite – These are pre-formed mouthguards with a lining that can be softened by boiling and then placed into the mouth to create a form based on your teeth. They tend to fit slightly better than the stock guards, but with that being said they are still fairly bulky, and must be replaced quite frequently as well.
- Custom – Custom mouthguards are designed specifically to fit your exact teeth, and are known for their superior comfort. You can be fitted for a custom mouth guard by making an appointment with your family dentist. These types of guards are much longer lasting than the custom or boil and bite variety, but it is still recommended that they be replaced annually in order to retain maximum effectiveness.
Some sports that may require a sports guard are as follows:
- Equestrian Events
- Extreme Sports
- Martial Arts
- Ice Hockey
- Field Hockey
- Water Polo
- Inline Skating
Are you looking for a dentist? Well, new patients are always welcome at Dr. Jason Harvey’s office. We offer emergency dental services, and pledge to treat you with the same respect and care that we do for each of our valued clients.