Dr. Matt here. I have been enjoying watching the Winter Olympics. I am pleased to see so many athletes wearing mouth guards. Some guards are clear, some national colors, and others brand names. A mouthguard is a protective device made for the mouth that is designed to protect the teeth, gums, and jaws. Often a mouthguard saves damage to teeth, lips and gums. Most are made of a pliable plastic material.
Mouthguards have been around for about one hundred years I would guess to say. Boxing is sighted as the first sport followed by football, hockey and now all contact sports. Even some non contact sports like knitting (joke).
The American Dental Association recommends the use of mouthguards for “acrobatics, basketball, bicycling, boxing, equestrian, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, inline skating, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby football, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, softball, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling”.
As I sit and watch the action I am happy to see so many of the sports using mouth protection. Hockey is obvious even with a full face mask. Maybe it is about future endorsements. Who wants a toothless athlete to represent them, well except for the mouthguard companies, maybe? I noticed one of the mogul skiers removing his guard after a medal run.
A popular discussion is “Do mouthguards help prevent concussions?” Concussion prevention is a very hot topic currently. The studies are difficult to draw conclusions but the National Hockey League dentist Dr. Bill Blair said, “it is an easier sell to get the players to wear them if it is for helping with decreasing concussions”.
Guards can be custom made by our dental office in two appointments. Most sporting good stores carry a guard that you can fit at home by boiling. There are also generic ones. Many sporting labels have there own brand, such as Under Armour”. Whatever you decide to do get one that fits well. A generic fit is helpful but a custom fit is better. Custom fit mouthguards are less apt to become displaced during your sport activity.
So as you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, join me and look for Mouthguards in use.

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