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Why should I wear a mouthguard during sports?

Certain sports, like hockey and martial arts, are prone to face and teeth injury. But even sports like tennis, volleyball, gymnastics and baseball have a high risk for these injuries. According to the American Dental Association, wearing a mouth guard not only protects your teeth but can also protect against injuries to the jaw, face, tongue and lips. While some people may electively pierce their lips or tongues, no one wants to have a tooth through these sensitive parts of the body. Look for mouth guards that are flexible, resist tearing, do not restrict your breathing, and have a proper fit.

While mouth-guards do protect the teeth from breaking due to contact in sports like boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse and even gymnastics or skateboarding, there are some risks to the wearer. Our studies have shown that with use, mouth-guards become contaminated with germs that can make the athlete sick. Within one week of wear, not only is the mouth-guard surface contaminated with a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, but the pores in the material are loaded. Add to this the fact that the mouth-guard becomes sharp and jagged; there is an excellent chance to cut the mouth tissues and introduce these germs into the blood stream. Many of the germs we found could produce asthma-like symptoms, mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting. Based again on our studies, the mouth-guard should be stored in a closed container of Medical or Polident when not in use. 

While mouth-guards do protect the teeth from breaking due to contact in sports like boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse and even gymnastics or skateboarding, there are some risk to the wearer. Our studies have shown that with use, mouth-guards become contaminated with germs that can make the athlete sick. Within one week of wear, not only is the mouth-guard surface contaminated with a wide range of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, but the pores in the material are loaded. Add to this the fact that the mouth-guard becomes sharp and jagged; there is an excellent chance to cut the mouth tissues and introduce these germs into the blood stream. Many of the germs we found could produce asthma-like symptoms, mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting. Based again on our studies, the mouth-guard should be stored in a closed container of Medical or Polident when not in use. The mouth-guard also should be change at least weekly.

When it comes to protecting your smile during active sports, a properly fitted mouthguard is a key piece of athletic gear. Mouthguards cushion impact that may otherwise cause broken teeth, jaw injuries, or cuts to the lip, tongue or face.

Mouthguards are most commonly used in contact sports, such as boxing, football, hockey and lacrosse. However, evidence has shown that even in non-contact sports like gymnastics or skateboarding, mouthguards help prevent mouth and jaw injuries.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.