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Owen Sound Dental Clinic Staff
Mar 23 18

Do You Need to Wear a Mouth Guard?

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To maintain your beautiful smile, you must take care of your teeth. While brushing and flossing protects your pearly whites from cavities, a mouth guard can protect it from serious dental injuries. A mouth guard is a small device that you place in your mouth to protect various areas in the mouth. It not only guards your teeth, but also the jaw, tongue, and cheeks. These mouth protectors are typically made of plastic and laminate and are most often worn during contact sports such as hockey, basketball, football, and baseball.
Teens are More Susceptible to Oral Injuries
While mouth guards may be an excellent safety precaution for individuals of all ages, teenagers  have a substantially higher risk for an oral injury while playing various contact sports and have a greater need for mouth protection. One study by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry looked at the various injuries teenagers experienced when playing various sports. The study found that 75% of teenage athletes suffered some type of oral trauma while playing sports – particularly basketball, baseball, and football. The study found that the most common injuries that occurred were lost teeth, teeth that were moved in the mouth but still attached, fractured teeth, and severe cuts in the mouth.
It May Help Prevent Concussions
In addition to simply protecting your teeth and other areas of your mouth, there is some  research, and many experts claim that individuals who wear a mouth guard during sporting activities lessen their chance of a concussion. This is because the cushion of the mouth guard creates a type of padding which lessens the blow to the brain. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been consistently confirmed but there is ample evidence to prove so.
Key is Proper Fitting Mouth Guard
If individuals want the benefits of a mouth guard, it is essential the device fits the individual’s mouth and fits it well. The guard should be tight-fitting and should not move around when in the mouth. The wearer of the mouth guard should not have to clench his or her teeth to keep the device in place either. There are several types of mouth guards available. A common mouth guard is a boil and bite guard. With this type of device, the guard is boiled and becomes very malleable. You then bite it and mold it to the wearer’s teeth while it is still hot. While the boil and bite mouth guards are extremely common, a custom-fit mouth protector is ideal. Before choosing just any mouth guard, you should discuss the various options with your dentist and be professionally fitted for the device. The custom-fit guard will ensure it fits the wearer correctly, is durable, and provides the essential protection he or she needs for certain sports and other activities. This option may be more expensive than others but it will provide the best overall protection. While mouth guards are small devices, they can make all the difference between suffering large dental injuries or experiencing something minor. Reach out to your dentist for more information on mouth protectors and for answers to many questions you may have.

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