Whether it’s playing football, netball, skateboarding, or BMX bike riding, Australians are passionate about sport and keeping active. With the joy that sport brings, it also carries with it a risk of a heavy collision or unwanted contact to the face. That is why wearing a mouthguard is so important. Protecting your teeth should be considered just another part of looking after your health.
How does a mouthguard protect your smile?
A mouthguard helps to absorb the shock following trauma to the face or mouth. Without a mouthguard teeth may be chipped or broken. Other consequences include tooth loss, injuries to the lips, gums or oral soft tissues. In severe cases, a collision may result in concussion or a broken jaw. Dental injuries can lead to long and potentially expensive dental treatment in order to restore the teeth and mouth back to normal function and appearance.
Did you know that only 36% of children between the ages of 15-17 wear mouthguards during sport?
Unfortunately, dental injuries are relatively common in children and teenagers due to a lack of mouthguards being worn. The use of a protective mouthguard is a good habit to adopt, and its introduction should commence as soon a child starts participating in organised sport.
Why a custom-fitted mouthguard is best
The Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia recommend investing in a custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist. This is because a well-fitting mouthguard provides the best protection for your teeth by accommodating the teeth position and ensuring adequate thickness of material in all vulnerable areas.
Put simply, the use of a customised mouthguard for all contact sports is an essential part of injury prevention.
A custom-fitted mouthguard is:
- allows you to speak clearly
- won’t shift or fall out
- won’t restrict your breathing.
“Boil and bite” or over-the-counter mouthguards are also an option, however they are poorly fitting, can be uncomfortable to wear and may affect speech, breathing and swallowing. These mouthguards require little or no fitting, and provide minimal protection to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth.
How to look after your custom-fitted mouthguard.
- Wear your mouthguard at training, practice and during the game.
- Do not let others use your mouthguard – it is custom-made and so can only be used by you.
- Rinse your mouthguard before and after use.
- Wash your mouthguard only with soap and in cold or lukewarm water. Cleaning the inner surface with a soft toothbrush or nailbrush after wearing is also important.
- Store your mouthguard in a clean, rigid and ventilated plastic container. Also keep it away from sunlight and heat to ensure it maintains its shape.
- Do not expose your mouthguard to petroleum and petroleum products, cleaning agents, paints, adhesives and similar chemicals. It may be damaged and rendered ineffective, without the damage being visible to you.
It is important to regularly examine your mouthguard for signs of wear or deterioration, and make note of whether your mouthguard becomes loose, tight or causes you any discomfort. Ask your dentist to inspect your mouthguard at your next dental appointment.
To help ensure the health of your family’s smiles, Health Partners Dental is offering a special Senior or Junior no-gap* mouthguard with Gold and National Extras cover and Family Essentials package cover. This means that you are not out-of-pocket for being proactive in protecting your smile.
*Limits and waiting periods may apply. See healthpartners.com.au for full details.