The choice to wear a sports mouthguard during sporting activities may be optional or mandatory, depending on the type of sport you perform. There are now models available that can be custom-made through a dentist or purchased online. Their effectiveness in improving performance hinges on the protection given by the mouthguard during sports.
Purpose and Benefit of a Sports Mouthguard
Mouthguards are designed to cover the teeth and gums to protect them from injury during sports. The lips are given a degree of protection too as the mouthguard acts as a buffer between the inner mouth lips, tongue, gums and the hard teeth surface.
Sports involving physical contact or a raised risk of being hit by a flying object, such as a cricket ball or baseball, are best played when wearing a mouthguard to protect oral structures from damage. Typical sports where sports mouthguards are worn include football, rugby, hockey, cricket, baseball and boxing. Nowadays, there are other sports variations such as kick boxing and cage fighting where wearing a mouthguard to shield the teeth and gums is recommended.
Playing contact sports without a mouthguard may lead to fractured, broken or avulsed teeth and damage to gum tissue. In some instances, the jaw can become dislocated and require emergency dental care. Dentist-made sports mouthguards are formulated to reduce impact and lower the risk of concussion.
Getting a Sports Mouthguard
Although it is easy to buy a sports mouthguard online, it is best to have a dentist assess your oral health and specific needs. The dentist will take into consideration the type of sports you play and what mouthguard will best suit your needs.
Getting a custom-made sports mouthguard through a dentist will mean that you receive a suitably fitting mouthguard that adjusts to your unique oral dimensions, providing improved comfort, protection and performance; whereas an ill-fitting mouthguard can cause oral trauma. Generally, sports mouthguards are not available through the national services but are purchasable through private dentists.
Types of Sports Mouthguards
Sports mouthguards come in all shapes, sizes and colours, and there are three main types:
Boil and bite sports mouthguards: These mouthguards may be bought in a sports store. They are made out of thermoplastic material that, when boiled, becomes soft and pliable. When cool enough the mouthguard is placed in the mouth and moulded to the shape of the teeth and gums using the tongue and finger.
Stock mouth protectors: Similar to boil and bite mouthguards, these are also purchasable within sports stores. However, they are not made to adjust to unique mouth shape and may be hard to wear and possibly cause oral discomfort.
Custom-made sports mouthguards: Dentists usually make these based on a person’s dental impression to perfectly fit their unique oral make-up. These mouthguards are recommended as they offer the right fit, may be adjusted by the dentist and provide the best protection.
Improving Sports Performance
Custom-made sports mouthguards have the potential to place the jaw joint in its most relaxed position and allow the muscles to function to their maximum level. Many models also release tension in the neck and back, increasing stamina, flexibility, and strength. If a sports person is one with their body and how it is working, as is the case when a sports mouthguard is worn and no injuries are present, they are able to push themselves to their limits and put in their best performance.
Wearing a Sports Mouthguard
The choice of sports mouthguard that may contribute to performance success is therefore important. If a sports mouthguard is ill-fitting or uncomfortable to wear, it may detract from focus and sporting performance. Oral trauma caused by the wrong type of mouthguard may lead to the need for dental care that takes time out of sporting practice.
It is best to have a dentist assess your oral condition for sports mouthguard wear. Continuing to wear the mouthguard as prescribed and having dental check-ups to assess the mouthguard fit and function is vital for receipt of the right protection. Knowing that you are wearing the right fitting mouthguard and are protected during sporting activity gives greater confidence and sporting achievement.
Caring for a Sports Mouthguard and Performance
During sports, the mouthguard may become coated with saliva, plaque and bacteria. It is important to rinse the sports mouthguard and clean it as prescribed to maintain good oral hygiene and health. Some mouthguards may be rinsed with cold or lukewarm water, and then brushed with toothpaste and a toothbrush. The dentist provides best advice for cleaning and maintaining the mouthguard.
Always store the mouthguard safely in its proper container and avoid exposing the mouthguard to high temperatures that may distort its shape and surface. After wear, check the mouthguard to see that it is free from damage. If any damage is present, contact the dentist to have it assessed, repaired or replaced if necessary. Taking good care of your sports mouthguard means that it will last and be there when you need it most for safe and successful sporting performance.
About the Author: Rich is a freelance writer who partakes in a bit of cycling, football and weights, always making sure to abide by safety regulations. You can learn more about sports mouthguards on the harley street dental studio website like the Pure Power Mouthguard, maximising sports performance and protection.
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