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Athletic Mouth Guards

May 16, 2018

Did you know that baseball and basketball are the two sports with the highest incidence of dental injuries in children between the ages of 7 – 17?

Athletes can help prevent oral trauma through the use of a properly fitted appliance, such as an athletic mouth guard. Although mouth guards will not always prevent injuries, they do redistribute the forces of collision, thereby minimizing the risk of injury to the teeth.

There are 4 basic types of mouth guards, and they do not provide equal levels of protection.

  • The least protective type is the stock mouth guard. The stock mouth guard requires that an athlete hold it in place by biting down; it does not adapt to the teeth or stay in place easily. Therefore, when a blow to the mouth happens, this type of mouth guard shifts around and provides poor protection to the teeth.
  • The 2nd type of mouth guard is a “boil-n-bite”, and is similar to the stock mouth guard in the sense that it is sold over the counter and in a variety of sizes. While these mouth guards offer a slightly better fit that the stock mouth guard, they are still overall not great at providing an even amount of protection to the teeth.
  • The 2 most protective types of mouth guards are custom made mouth guards that are fabricated using a model of the athlete’s teeth. These mouth guards have excellent shock absorbing properties, and maximize protection by evenly distributing forces across the mouth. They typically are also the most comfortable (since they are custom made to the patient’s mouth), resulting in the athlete actually wearing the mouth guard most frequently.

Mouth guards are already mandatory in several sports such as: football, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse. However, there are many sports that do not require mouth guards such as: basketball, baseball/softball, and soccer.

If you would like to learn more about mouth guards for your child, please contact our office – we would be happy to discuss!

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
All rights reserved.