Student Athlete Mouthguard Recommendations – When high school athletes start gearing up for sports, Delta Dental of Michigan wants them to make sure a mouthguard is on their equipment list.
According to the American Dental Association, sports-related injuries are responsible for knocking out 2 million teeth per year. Mouthguards serve as a shock absorber to prevent injuries to the teeth, tongue, lips and inner-cheek.
“Even if they are playing what is not traditionally thought of as a contact sport, student athletes are still at risk for mouth injuries anytime they suit up,” said Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer and senior vice president of Delta Dental of Michigan. “Basketball players in particular see a significant number of mouth injuries from hand or elbow contact with the face.”
Student Athlete Mouthguard Recommendations – Fit
Jacobson also noted that in order for a mouthguard to provide adequate protection, it must fit correctly and be properly maintained. A mouthguard should cover the teeth and gums with minimal discomfort and should not disrupt the athlete’s ability to talk or breathe. When mouthguards begin to tear or deform, they no longer provide quality protection and should be replaced.
“Cleanliness of a mouthguard is just as important as proper fit,” Jacobson said. “Mouthguards can harbor food particles, bacteria, blood, dirt and other debris. If left unclean, mold can develop making them particularly dangerous for athletes with allergies or asthma.”
Student Athlete Mouthguard Recommendations – Cleaning
- Brush the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste after use.
- Soak in denture cleaning solutions for 20 to30 minutes once per month.
- Freshen up the mouthguard by soaking it overnight in a cup of mouthwash.