It’s that time again. The time where the sun (theoretically) sets on summer. When we start lacing our bootstraps and grabbing our hockey sticks (or another player in a ruck).
Melbourne is synonymous with sport. While the gentlemen and women roll through Rod Laver Arena and the MCG in summer wielding racquets, cricket bats and niceties, winter is the time for rough and tumble. It’s the season where, without a professionally fitted mouthguard, teeth will get in the way.
According to the Australian Society of Orthodontics “sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes.” These are the gory and painful injuries, the lost teeth, gum lacerations and broken jaws! These are injuries that Nationwide Children report are 60 times more likely to occur when a mouthguard is not worn. These are injuries that can impact your smile, speech and ability to eat. Yet, the Society reports that “only a third of children aged 5-17 years wear a mouthguard while playing organised sports, even though other protective materials such as helmets are common.”
And as if having braces wasn’t bad enough, if you play sport without a mouthguard you expose yourself to an even greater risk of injury.
Heroes wear helmets after all. So, rather than letting fear of injury call time on your athletic career, the simple answer is to invest in a mouthguard. As the Australian Dental Association explains “wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard helps to absorb and spread the impact of a blow to your face, which might otherwise result in an injury to your mouth or jaw.”
In fact, the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that a study of high school basketballers showed that there was a tenfold reduction in laceration style injuries when players wore mouthguards. The jury is, however, out on whether mouthguards can prevent concussion.
It bears mentioning that the level of protection will depend on the style of mouthguard you purchase. At the most basic are ready made stock mouthguards. Available in a variety of sizes, these can be purchased and used without moulding. The British Journal of Sports Medicine discourages their use, noting “they offer the minimum protection and may even be thought of as dangerous as they may give a rugby player, for example, a false sense of security.”
Your next option are boil and set mouthguards, which range from standard thermoplast to something reminiscent of Transformers. If you’ve ever used these, you’ll know the ridiculous feeling of boiling and sucking these into place, only to achieve something provides minimal protection. That said, some models at Rebel Sport bear the ADA seal of approval and offer a $10,000 dental warranty.
Of course, if you can excuse the blatant self-promotion, your safest choice is a custom fitted mouthguard. Your dentist will take a cast of your teeth in order to prepare a mouthguard that fits snugly and offers the utmost protection. And best of all, if you do have braces, choosing an orthodontic mouthguard means you can continue to play the sports you love. These are recommended unanimously by dental and sporting organisations across the world.
A mouthguard is only as good as its condition and fit. If you’re growing, expect to change mouthguards more frequently. You should also be on the lookout for wear and damage.
To ensure its longevity, we also recommend the following:
- Storing in a vented container;
- Storing away from the sun;
- Rinsing before and after use with a toothbrush; and
- Taking your mouthguard to dental appointments.
If you don’t fancy eating mush for a month, it’s time you invested in a quality mouthguard that offers serious protection on the sporting field; a custom fitted mouthguard from your dentist. As much as the initial outlay on a custom fit mouthguard may be of concern, it pales in comparison when you consider the cost of treatment and time off work.
Get in touch now to avoid watching from the sidelines.