Protect Your Teeth during National Facial Protection Month
Spring sports are starting soon, which means fun, sun and dental injuries. Reports show that at least 5 million teeth are broken, fractured or injured in some way because of sports or exercise. Mouthguards can prevent these dental injuries the majority of times. Your daily oral health habits can prevent injuries as well. Use these tips to protect your mouth during National Facial Protection Month and the months to follow!
April is Sports Safety Month
Spring is here and that means that spring sports are in full swing. Along with fun and being outside that many sports bring, patients must also be cautious of dental injuries. These send millions of people to the dentist or hospital each year. The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) reports that dental emergencies happen 13-39% of the time during sports activities. The percentage varies from year to year. The most common dental injuries are tooth or crown fractures, tooth intrusions, extrusions and avulsions.
An intrusion or avulsion is when a tooth is hit upwards or downwards into the gums until it alveolar bone. This is a serious dental emergency that generally happens due to a lack of facial protection via a mouthguard. Sadly, children are the ones that generally sustain these injuries because parents or guardians don’t realize contact sports with young ones can be risky. The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports that the most common type of sports injuries in youth are dental injuries more than anything else.
The main reason for these injuries is a lack of facial protection. Studies show that 3-5 million people in the U.S. will break or knock out a tooth during a sport each year. A participant is 60 times more likely to sustain a dental injury as well when they don’t wear facial protection or a mouth guard. With sports that suggest mouthguards or facial gear, you can be smart during sports safety month (and all year long) by getting your child or teen what they need to protect their smile.
Facial Protection with a Mouthguard
If you play a sport, you definitely want to consider getting a mouthguard, especially if your sport is a contact sport. There are three different types of mouthguards you can get, but not all are the best quality. Here are the main facial protection guards and their differences:
- Stock Mouth Protectors – These are your cheapest option for a mouthguard, but they are cheap for a reason. These protectors can be worn by anyone and can be found in grocery stores, department stores, and sporting goods stores. They are cheap because they are one-size-fits-all and cannot be customized for you. Dentists do not recommend these protectors because they are generally bulky, make talking (and sometimes breathing) difficult, and actually provide little protection. If a mouthguard does not fit snug with the teeth and gums, you can still receive injuries. Avoid these types of guards.
- Boil and Bite Protectors – These are guards that you can buy in many sporting goods stores. They are similar to stock protectors, but can at least be fit to your mouth. They are called “boil and bite” guards because you place the guard in hot water to soften the thermoplastic material. Then you place it in your mouth, bite down, and try to mold it to your teeth. They generally provide a much better grip on your teeth than stock protectors, but don’t fit perfectly.
- Custom-Fitted Protectors – The best way to ensure your mouthguard is snug with your teeth and gums is to have one custom made for your mouth. A custom-fit guard is individually designed to fit your mouth and no one else’s. For example, Dr. Ania would take a mold of your teeth and form a custom mouthguard from the mold. This guard should fit your teeth perfectly and will provide all the protection you need without any wiggle room for injury.
If you know you or your child are going to compete in a contact sport, make a dental consultation. This will help you find the right facial protection gear. No parent wants their child to suffer a broken or avulsed tooth because of simply not having a mouthguard. Children are the ones most often injured in contact sports with their mouths because many don’t think children are rough enough to warrant proper facial protection. Statistics show that’s not the case.
We make the agility guard, which is a custom-made mouthguard created for our active patients that want to protect their mouth. The agility guard is popular with teens and adults in contact sports such as football, boxing, basketball and more. However, because these facial protection guards are custom-made, we can provide your young child with one as well. Some studies show that the right mouth guard can actually help improve athletic performance because of the comfort (both physically and mentally) it gives athletes. Focus improves because there is less of a risk of getting injured.
April is National Facial Protection Month as well as Sports Safety Month. Practice great sports safety on and off the field and then invest in a facial protection agility guard for you or your little one. Call Dr. Ania’s office today at (303) 872-9940 for your dental consultation and for other tips for facial protection through oral hygiene, lifestyle and food choices!