Playing sport, particularly contact sports such as football, rugby and boxing can have adverse effect on the mouth.
Except for boxing and similar activities, in most sports we generally don’t consider the potential damage that can be done to the mouth and teeth. Children are particularly susceptible to injury as they tend to be less aware of what happens around them on the sports field.
As such, dentists now feel that it is an issue that should be taken more seriously. A study in 1995 found that in sports where mouth guards were worn, the incidence of injury to the mouth and teeth was low, whereas even in sports such as basketball, where a mouth guard is not generally worn, there was a higher incidence than expected (34%) of orofacial injuries.
But using any old mouth guard can be a problem. In fact mouth guards should not only protect but should also be comfortable to wear, be tear resistant, odourless and tasteless and be as unobtrusive as possible. It should not interfere with breathing or the ability to speak.
Perhaps most important of all, the guard should be accurately fitted to ensure mouth and teeth are adequately protected with no discomfort. There should also be sufficient thickness in critical areas.
Further, a properly fitted mouth guard should be designed to improve muscle contraction. It should also prevent the development of muscle strain, plus not cause any stress around the jaw.
Moreover, a well fitted mouth guard should be flexible – hard mouth guards can damage the teeth they are trying to protect.
Finally, mouth guards should enhance the performance of the athlete and not detract. As such, they should help to reduce any back, neck or head pain felt during a collision.
One of the problems when getting a mouth guard, however, is it is very easy to buy one over the counter from a sports shop. Unfortunately, this may not fit properly and may in the end cause more problems than it is trying to solve.
So, for more information on specialist mouth guards please contact the team at Harley Street Dental Studio in London.
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