It is a known fact that boxers, hockey, lacrosse, baseball and basketballs players wear mouth guards, but on the slopes you hardly ever see a child, teen or adult wear one. It is especially important for freestyle skiers, snowboarders or ones a little daring in trying new tricks as falls happen more frequently.
The snow/ice on the slopes can be harsh to the head and face upon a fall causing head, mouth, jaw, teeth, tongue, lip and cheek injuries. A mouth guard, made out of plastic and worn on the upper teeth, absorbs and dissipates force when the upper and lower teeth bang together. It cushions a blow to the face upon impact, minimizing injuries.
When it comes to protection, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. In fact, studies show that athletes are more likely to suffer harm to the head, face, mouth and teeth if they’re not wearing a mouth guard, skiers and snowboarders included.
Did you know that the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association started requiring its elite athletes to wear mouth guards while training and competing about a decade ago? If they wear it why wouldn’t you or your child?
Dr. Dimovski’s Dental Office provides Free Mouth Guards, once a year, for all of our sports playing patients.
There are three types of mouth guards:
Custom-fitted. These are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
Stock. These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
- Boil and bite. These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
The best mouth guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted mouth guard, you should still wear a stock mouth guard or a boil-and-bite mouth guard from the drugstore. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
A properly fitted mouth guard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth guard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth guard that will provide the best protection. Although mouth guards typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth guard on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.
If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.
Some tips for caring for your mouth guard:
rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
occasionally clean the mouth guard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
never leave the mouth guard in the sun or in hot water
- check for wear and tear to see if it needs replacing
Dr. Elizabeth Dimovski & Associates – We Protect Your Smile!