One of the thing every player of basketball, football, rugby, soccer and hockey must ensure before heading out to play is that their teeth are well-protected. Injuries during training and games have been known to cause serious dental injuries resulting to loss of teeth.
While wearing a mouthguard when playing might not be mandated in all clubs yet, it is highly recommended. The Australian Dental Association and Sports Medicine Australia advocate that clubs implement a “No Mouthguard, No Play” policy which makes the wearing of mouthguards obligatory in all contact sports.
Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, said “Every year thousands of people are treated for dental injuries that could have been avoided by wearing a protective, custom-fitted mouthguard.”(1)
Nobody wants to lose their teeth in a game. Clearly taking steps to stop the injuries is a good idea, particularly when the cost of a custom made mouthguard will be fully covered by insurance.
However, the real challenge for most players is choosing the right mouthguard. The market is filled with different types of mouthguards with varying prices. You have to do your research and know what to consider when buying a mouthguard. At Westside Dentistry we recommend mouthguards with the following qualities:
- Easy to clean: You should not have any difficulties cleaning your mouthguard, as the hygiene of the mouthguard must be maintained at all times.
- Comfortable: The right mouthguard must feel comfortable in your mouth. You don’t want to wear something that makes you feel uneasy.
- Tear-resistant: Your mouthguard should not break or tear away on the slightest of pressure. It should be strong enough to absorb and falls and keep your teeth protected.
- Resilient: A great mouthguard should be resilient. It should be able to withstand hard falls by either stretching or bending back into the original shape.
- Durable: It should be durable enough to last you for long periods. You get good value for your money with a durable mouthguard.
- Proper fit: This is probably the most important consideration when buying one. The best mouthguard one that fits properly. It should allow you to play your game without ever worrying about the guard falling out.
- Should not hinder breathing: The ideal mouthguard should give you enough breathing space. When in the game running, you will need to breathe through your mouth to supply the high oxygen demanded by your body.
- Should not hinder speech: You should be able to communicate easily even when wearing the guard. If it restricts speech, then you might not communicate well with other players on the court.
You now realise there is a lot to look at before making the final decision on your mouthguard. To help you choose the best mouthguard, let’s have a look at the available types of mouthguards in the market and their pros and cons.
- Quick and cheap
- Readily available in pharmacies and sports stores
- People easily chew on them
- Can restrict speech and breathing
- Available in limited sizes
- You must close the jaws to hold it in place
- Deemed unacceptable by the most Dental authorities due to the poor protection offered
Boil and Bite
- Fits with ease
- Relatively inexpensive
- Readily available in sports stores
- Feel a little uncomfortable
- A poor design the restricts speech and breathing
- You can easily chew on it
- Protection is not as good as a custom mouthguard, higher risk of damage to teeth as a result.
Dental custom fit
- Offers much better protection due to the individual fit
- Allows breathing and speech
- Quite thin and feel comfortable
- There are a variety of custom colours to choose
- Free! – If you have dental cover in your health insurance, when purchased from us there is no cost to you.
- More expensive unless it is covered by health insurance (we offer a no-gap policy where the complete cost of your mouthguard will be covered by your health fund’s dental cover).
- Requires impressions from a dental prosthetist or dentist
- Takes a day or two to be manufactured
I hope you’re now informed to make the right decision on the best mouthguard to wear when playing sport. The Dental Custom fit is definitely the safer, more durable choice even if you don’t have dental cover.