Studies have shown that in the UK a whopping 1 in 5 children have experienced a traumatic dental injury to their adult front teeth before they leave school. Although the oral region comprises just 1% of the total body area, oral injuries account for 5% of all bodily injuries across all age groups, when looking at pre-school children the proportion is as high as 17%. Injuries to the face can injure your facial bones, teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue.
These figures can make us want to wrap our children up in cotton wool, we know we can’t do that but there is a way we can wrap their teeth up! Custom made mouthguards have been consistently proven to have a significant protective effect. You don’t have to be on the football or rugby field to benefit from a mouth guard, new findings in sports dentistry show that even in non-contact sports such as gymnastics and rollerblading mouth guards help protect teeth. Many experts recommend that a mouth guard be worn for any recreational activity that holds a potential risk of injury to the mouth.
What makes a mouth guard effective?
The most effective mouth guard should have several features, it should be comfortable, fit properly, durable, easy to clean and not restrict your speech or breathing. Usually a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth.
Types of mouth guard
There are three types of mouth guards: The ready-made mouth guard; the mouth- formed ‘boil and bite’ mouth guard; and the custom-made mouth guard created by your dentist. All three mouth guards provide some form of protection but vary in comfort, cost and effectiveness, studies have shown that custom made mouthguards provide a significantly greater level of protection when compared to those you can buy ‘off the shelf’.
Have a chat to your St. James dentist with any questions you have surrounding the construction and fit of mouthguards.
How to take care of your mouth guard
We’ve put together a list of Do’s and Don’ts for taking good care of your mouth guard:
- Before and after each use, rinse it with cold water or with an antiseptic mouth rinse. You can clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush, too.
- When it’s not in use, store your mouth guard in a firm, perforated container. This permits air circulation and helps prevent it from being damaged.
- Avoid high temperatures, such as hot water, hot surfaces or direct sunlight, which can distort the mouth guard.
- Check your mouthguard regularly for tears, holes and poor fit. A mouth guard that’s torn or in bad shape can irritate areas of your mouth and lessen the amount of protection it provides.
- Have regular dental check-ups and bring your mouth guard along so your dentist can make sure it’s still in good condition.
Don’t take your teeth for granted. Protect your smile with a mouth guard.