Ask a Dentist

November 30, 2023

Should I Wear A Mouthguard When Playing Hockey Or Other Sports?

Young boys in hockey gear skating forward in an arena with adults in hockey gear following behind

Hockey season is finally back! Indoor soccer is in full swing! Basketball? Yes, please. Participating in sports and physical activities is an excellent way to stay healthy and active. However, it's crucial to consider safety measures to protect your body, including your teeth and mouth. One common question athletes and active individuals often ask is, "Why should I wear a mouthguard when I play sports?" We’ve already asked that in a previous Ask A Dentist blog post, check it out. But a key thing to know about wearing a sports mouthguard is how to maintain it.

Quick Recap: Mouthguards Prevent Injuries and Broken Teeth

Typically, a mouthguard covers only the top teeth, but in cases where a dental appliance or braces are in place, some athletes may also need a lower guard. A well-fitted mouthguard not only shields brackets, preventing potential harm if someone is hit in the face, but it also ensures that braces don't cause injuries to the gums and cheeks.

These protective guards are important in preventing Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ) and various impact and shock-related injuries to the teeth, including broken teeth, knocking a tooth out, cut lips, inadvertent biting, and jaw fractures. To treat these oral injuries, you may require fillings, crowns, root canals, dental appliances like a bridge or partial denture, or, in severe cases, a tooth implant.

Effectiveness and Maintenance of Your Mouthguard

Regular cleaning and replacement of your mouthguard is important. Mouthguards should be replaced at the end of each sports season or every six months, especially for growing teens and kids. Children and teenager mouths are still growing, so more replacements will be needed to accommodate all that change. To keep your mouthguard longer, it’s best to maintain it, consider the following tips:

●      Take out any removable dental appliances, like a retainer

●      Rinse it before putting it in your mouth

●      Clean it with cold water, toothpaste and a toothbrush after every use

●      Store it in a perforated, hard container (it usually comes with one), to prevent damage and so it has air circulation

●      Don’t chew on it when you’re using it (keep it on your teeth) so it doesn’t get deformed

●      Don’t leave it in direct sunlight or a car, excessive heat can change its shape

●      Never share it with anyone else (you don’t share your toothbrush with others, do you?)

Other Tips

●      Opt for a brightly coloured mouthguard so it’s easily identifiable

●      Get it and your mouth evaluated regularly with your dentist to make sure it’s working properly and your teeth are looking great

●      Replace it if it's damaged or uncomfortable so you know it fits well and you won’t fidget with it

Lastly, use your mouthguard during training and practice sessions, too! Your oral health doesn’t know if it’s a game or not, and accidents can happen whenever you’re on the rink, pitch, field, ring or wherever you’re playing. Investing in a custom, quality mouthguard is highly recommended for young athletes. So whether you’re a player, parent, coach or teacher, you should be encouraging everyone on the team to wear a high-quality mouthguard to protect their teeth and head.

Drop by our Dental Image Therapy Centres clinics at St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre for your customized mouthguard fitting, it’s easy to book an appointment using our online form! If you have an appointment already and have questions about sports dental care, just let us know, we love to talk about how we can help you maintain a confident smile.

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