A dentist on mouthguards: How a custom sports mouthguard helps
As the Official Team Dentist of the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, Dr. Draver and the entire Draver Dental team are fully equipped to manage sports-related dental injuries.
TMJ4’s Stephanie Brown discussing sports mouthguards with Milwaukee Admirals team dentist Dr. Hannah Draver.
Even more important than treating sports injuries is preventing them. The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends properly fitted custom mouthguards for athletes of all ages that participate in collision and contact sports.
Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury from sports. Two of the most well-known sports that should use mouthguards are hockey and football, but sports such as lacrosse, softball, baseball, and basketball also have a high incidence of orofacial injuries.
Sports mouthguards reduce injuries
An ideal mouthguard is a properly fitted mouthguard that protects the teeth, soft tissue, and hard tissues. Although mouthguards help absorb much of the impact, they don’t guarantee the absence of injuries, but greatly lessen injuries if they do occur. There is some research that indicates mouthguards might help reduce the incidence of concussion, but there is insufficient data to support this claim. The main, data-supported reason for mouthguards is to protect the teeth and surrounding tissues (cheeks, tongue, lips, mandible, and TMJ).
Helmets and other pads must still be worn to protect against head injuries, but mouthguards are an excellent addition to protect your teeth.
3 types of sports mouthguards
There are 3 main types of mouthguards: stock, mouth-formed (“boil and bite”), and custom.
- A stock mouthguard is the least effective because the athlete must clench his or her teeth to hold it in place. This impedes speech and breathing, therefore the stock guards are generally not comfortable.
- Mouth-formed (“boil and bite”) mouthguards are cost-effective, molded to your athlete’s teeth at home, and readily available at sporting goods stores. They are more fitted than stock mouthguards but can still affect speech and breathing.
- Custom mouthguards, though the most expensive, are also the most retentive and protective. Custom mouthguards are easiest for athletes to wear and provide the best protection since they can be adapted to the athlete’s mouth. The custom mouthguard lets athletes breathe and talk easily, protecting their teeth without impeding their game. Especially once an athlete has all their permanent teeth, a custom mouthguard is critical for protecting their teeth while providing maximum comfort and compliance.
Sports beverages and foods
In addition to protecting your athlete’s teeth from trauma, athletes are especially prone to cavities from acidic and sugary sports drinks. Gatorade and similar drinks can be helpful for hydration, but they are not healthy for your teeth. Energy bars can also stick to your teeth and increase the risk of cavities. Especially before putting your mouthguard in, at least rinse your teeth with water!
At Draver Dental, our team will ensure a properly made, well-fitting mouthguard that your athlete will want to wear. Our team can also address other dental needs such as cavities and proper oral hygiene so that they can stay focused on their game.
Milwaukee Admirals rink dog Bender with The Morning Blend’s Stephanie Brown and team dentist Dr. Hannah Draver.