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A mouthguard is a comfortable piece of athletic gear that fits over your teeth and can help protect your smile, as well as your lips, tongue, face, and jaw. New research indicates that mouthguards can prevent or reduce the severity of concussions.
While hockey, boxing, and rugby players would obviously benefit from mouthguards, others, like bicyclists, weightlifters, and gymnasts, made the ADA’s list of athletes who need mouthguards. This may sound excessive, but studies show that 13 to 39 percent of all dental injuries are sports related. Because the face is an important part of a person’s image, self confidence, and sometimes success, it’s better to be safe than…toothless!
Before facemasks and mouthguards were required in football, half of all players’ injuries occurred in the mouth. During the playing season, players had a one-in-ten chance of mouth injury. Once high schools and colleges began requiring facemasks and mouthguards, the number of injuries reported dropped by 200,000 per year. Naturally, dentists and the ADA recommend mouthguards for adults and children in any recreational activity that poses the risk of injury to your mouth.
Anyone participating in a sport that contains a chance of injury to the teeth, jaws, or oral soft tissues or which shows a potential risk of concussion could benefit from the use of a mouthguard. In general, anyone participating in a contact or collision sport could benefit from a properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard. Participants in an individual sport, such as rollerblading, which puts the athlete at risk, should use a mouthguard. A properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard shouldn't interfere with an athlete performing any sport at the highest level.