Exercise has a wealth of health benefits, but at times can also pose a risk to physical wellbeing when causing accidents or injuries. Contact sports, adrenaline sports and sports that involve hard objects and slippery surfaces can cause many types of injuries, including dental injuries.
Dental injuries are fairly common and most dental injuries are caused by accidents, such as trips and falls, sports injuries and fighting. Examples of injuries include chipped teeth, broken teeth, damage to the jawbone and dislodged teeth.
How can I protect my teeth when playing sport?
Some sports carry a risk of injury to the teeth and gums and it is therefore advisable to wear a protective mouth guard (also known as a gum shield). Mouth guards are designed to protect the teeth and gums and can be moulded at home or custom-made by a dentist. Mouth guards that you mould at home are usually very cheap, but they do not fit as well, which is often very uncomfortable, especially when they irritate the gums. Custom-made mouth guards are much more effective, as they are designed to fit the individual perfectly. They are more expensive but are well worth the extra investment.
In some sports, where there is heavy contact, players wear helmets to protect their faces and heads, as well as their teeth. Examples of these sports include ice hockey and American football.
When would I need to wear a mouth guard?
It is advisable to wear a protective mouth guard if you are participating in a contact sport or a sport that involves hard objects or surfaces, including boxing, rugby, hockey and lacrosse.
Why is it important to wear a mouth guard?
It is important to wear a protective mouth guard to prevent damage to your teeth and gums, as dental injuries can be painful and may cause long-term problems, including tooth loss, which increases the risk of oral health diseases, decreases functionality and can affect self-esteem and confidence.
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