Protecting Smiles On The Field And Off
April is an important month in dentistry.
It is National Facial Protection Month. It’s also Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
We will be addressing both of these in our next few blogs, starting with what you can — and should — do to protect your family’s smiles.
Your family should be brushing their teeth twice a day (for two minutes each time) and flossing their teeth daily. You also should visit our dentist office if you live in or near Snellville, GA, for professional dental cleanings and exams a couple times each year.
And anyone in your family who participates in sports or other high-impact activities should wear a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard. We would be happy to make one for all the athletes in your family at Parkway Dental.
Who Needs An Athletic Mouthguard?
Let’s answer that question with a question of our own. Which of these athletes should wear a mouthguard while practicing and competing?
▸ Football players
▸ Soccer players
▸ Baseball players
▸ Mountain bikers
Everyone except the golfers should be wearing a mouthguard, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
Some of these are obvious. After all, mouthguards are mandatory for combat sports like boxing and contact sports like football.
So why should baseball and softball players, basketball players, cheerleaders, gymnasts, soccer players, skateboards, volleyball players, and so many other athletes where mouthguards? All of these are high-impact activities.
Any sport that includes lots of running and changing speeds, lots of jumping (and landing), or the potential for being hit with flying objects (like pucks or balls) could affect your teeth.
A hard landing or quick change of direction can cause you to inadvertently bite down. This could damage the soft tissues in your mouth. Your upper and lower teeth can even hit one another, which could cause cracks, chips, and breaks.
Likewise, a direct impact to the face or mouth from a line drive or a scramble for control of the ball could cause you to break or lose teeth.
Why Should You Get A Mouthguard From Our Dentists?
First and foremost, we want to protect your smiles. That’s what family dentistry is all about.
Mouthguards are important for preventive care just like cleanings and exams.
And by coming to our office, you can get the best kind of mouthguard of all — a custom-fitted mouthguard.
Any mouthguard is better than no mouthguards, but there are important reasons the ADA and the AAPD recommend custom-fitted ones.
First and foremost, the custom-fitted mouthguard is created from a mold of your mouth. That makes it fit as well as it can. It also makes it more comfortable to wear.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards, which you can find at most sporting goods stores, offer some level of customization, but nothing like a mouthguard that was specially created for your mouth.
Since these over-the-counter mouthguards aren’t made for a particular mouth, they tend to be bulkier than the kind we can make for you and your family. The bulk of these mouthguards can create problems as well.
The Academy of Sports Dentistry reported on this very issue. In a study of more than 500 rugby players, many players who used boil-and-bite mouthguard complained that they were uncomfortable and interfered with their ability to breathe during matches.
With a smaller, custom-fitted mouthguard, you get better protection, and it won’t interfere with how you breathe. This also makes it easier to communicate with your teammates and coaches without removing the mouthguard.
Taking Care Of Your Mouthguard
Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports is sort of like wearing a seatbelt while riding in a car. The seat belt won’t stop an accident from happening, but it can make a big difference if you are involved in one.
That’s also why you should follow the ADA recommendation for caring for your mouthguard. This will help it last longer and give you the most benefit.
Rinse your mouthguard before and after each use. When it’s not in use, store your mouthguard in a container with holes that allow air to circulate around the mouthguard.
Do not store your mouthguard in warm place, since this can distort it and affect how it fits.
And before and after each use, check your mouthguard for signs of wear and tear. When needed, replace it.
Stay In The Game
You can’t anticipate every possible dental emergency, but you may be able to avoid one by wearing a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard from Parkway Dental.
Call (770) 676-1122 or contact us online to make your appointment today!