Athletes of all kinds have a 33 to 56 percent chance of receiving an injury to the mouth or face during their career. And yet, the only sports that require the use of a mouthguard are the ones traditionally designated “contact sports,” such as martial arts, boxing, wrestling, football, and hockey. The American Dental Association recommends wearing an athletic mouthguard for a vast array of so-called “non-contact sports,” including soccer, basketball, skateboarding, bicycling, and volleyball, just to name a few.
Why Mouthguards Are Important
Athletes are 60 times more likely to receive a dental injury if they are not wearing a mouthguard. Athletic mouthguards protect your teeth, gums, cheeks, lips, and jaw. They absorb and disperse shock from contact, whether that contact comes from the heavy impact of a hit from another athlete, being struck by a piece of equipment, or from falling down and your face hitting the ground or floor. They also reduce the risk of neurological injuries by absorbing shock between the upper and lower jaws, preventing concussion.
There are a variety of different athletic mouthguards available on the market, and different sports may require slightly different forms of protection. For example, someone who plays a sport like tennis that has a relatively low level of traumatic contact injuries incurred could probably get away with using a boil-and-bite mouthguard available for purchase in sporting goods stores, whereas a football player who has a much higher risk of dental injury should always wear a custom-made, dentist-designed mouthguard.
Sports That Do Not Require Mouthguards But Should
Of all high school sports, basketball actually has the highest number of dental injuries incurred per season, but basketball players are not required to wear mouthguards. Bicycling, skateboarding, and baseball also see a high number of maxillofacial injuries. In addition to these common sports, the ADA also recommends use of an athletic mouthguard for less expected sports such as horseback riding, gymnastics, rollerblading, skiing, weightlifting, and water polo, among many others.
If you want to learn more about mouthguards for your child’s sport, contact our office today. We can help with adult mouthguards, too.