Mouth guards are a Necessary Piece of Equipment
The great news is that the incidences of dental injuries attributable to sports related accidents are down in numbers due to the mandatory use of mouth guards in many children’s sports. However, we are still finding that there are many people that are still reluctant to wear sports guards. In fact, it is said that most athletes are likely to spend more money on their shoes than they do on protection for their mouth.
We had a patient (we’ll call him Jacob) that sustained an injury while water tubing. During his wild water escapade the other person in the tube became airborne and was knocked out of the tube. On the way out his heel made contact with Jacob’s mouth. When they finally came ashore, Jacob’s front teeth were throbbing in what he described as a pulsating feeling. Fortunately, neither his teeth nor jawbone were broken. We examined and x-rayed the area and found no evidence of trauma, but we will have to monitor his teeth over the next few weeks….months…years.
David was not so lucky…
He took a line drive to the mouth during an early season rep baseball game. He had just gotten his braces off a few weeks before and now presented us with lacerated gum tissue, a swollen lip and fractured teeth and jawbone.
At 13 years of age, we had to remove his upper adult front tooth and place bone graft material into the extraction site. A temporary tooth was attached to his orthodontic retainer until a dental implant can be placed in the area. Although his adjacent teeth were not broken, they will also have to be monitored for signs of breakdown. The unfortunate thing about this particular case was the fact that his mother had been concerned about possible injury to his teeth since he had just gotten his brace off. Her suggestion to the coach and her son about wearing a mouth guard was met with resistance.
Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident!
You never know when or where an accident will take place. When we are engaged in physical activity, we may do all that we think is responsible in gauging the level of risk and the likelihood of injury, but accidents can happen suddenly and unexpectedly.
Sports guard are a vital piece of athletic equipment and we recommend that all athletes wear a mouth guard – child or adult. However, our mouths can sustain an injury during many every day actions also. We fall, turn our heads quickly, get elbowed, or bite down the wrong way. Always be careful of the possibility for injury and assess the risks accordingly.
Don’t let your guard down…
And don’t forget to sanitize your sports guard to prevent health problems of the mouth that can arise due to the accumulation of bacteria, fungi and yeast. After activity, we advise that you rinse your guard immediately after removing it from your mouth before placing it back in its container.
When you arrive home, take it out of its container and brush it with a soft toothbrush and tooth paste using light pressure. You do not want to create scratches and cracks in the guard by using a hard scrubbing action as bacteria can accumulate in these areas. Continue to clean it with antibacterial soapy water before giving it a final rinse with warm, clear water ensuring that there is no residual tooth paste in the crevices. Alternatively, you can rub the guard with some antibacterial mouth rinse before the final clear rinse. Be careful not to use water temperature that is too hot, since most guards can warp or remold when subjected to high temperatures.
The guard should be allowed to air dry in a safe, clean area as you would your toothbrush before placing it back into its clean container that has ventilation holes. Be sure to clean this container regularly using the routine above or placing it in a dishwasher.
You only have one set of permanent teeth ~ Protect Them!
The Your Smile Dental Care team