When Is a Sports Mouth Guard Recommended? This page explains the different situations in which it is prudent to wear a sports mouth guard.
mouth guards are laminate or soft plastic devices placed in the mouth to protect the teeth, gums and tongue during physical activities. The vast majority of NFL players but for Cam Newton wear a mouth guard for good reason: this protective device really can prevent those pearly whites from severe damage.
Sports mouth guards have prevented countless teeth from being knocked out of the mouth. It is not only football players who swear by mouth guards. Those who participate in other sports such as basketball, lacrosse and hockey also wear a mouth guard.
Why mouth guards are Necessary
According to the American Dental Association, about one-third of dental injuries result from participation in sports. The use of a mouth guard has the potential to prevent around 200,000 oral injuries every single year. The failure to wear a mouth guard can cause all sorts of dental injuries including root damage to fractured teeth, fractured crowns, broken bridgework, cheek injuries, knocked-out teeth and beyond. The bottom line is nearly every athlete should wear a mouth guard to help prevent a significant oral injury.
Sports That Require the use of mouth guards
As noted above, a mouth guard is essential for oral protection while playing American football. Those who participate in ice/roller hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and boxing should also don a mouth guard. If the sport involves any sort of contact, a mouth guard should be worn. Some question whether a mouth guard is necessary for baseball.
It is sensible to wear such a protective device when participating in America's pastime simply because the impact of an errant pitch or throw can easily knock out one or several teeth. The same is true of a softball. Even a wayward bat that hits a teammate's mouth will cause significant damage unless a sports mouth guard is in place for protection.
Are Sports mouth guards Necessary for Non-contact Sports?
Those who participate in non-contact sports such as volleyball and soccer often wonder if they really need a mouth guard. Indeed, a mouth guard should be worn when enjoying these athletic competitions. Imagine an instance in which a volleyball errantly bounces off a teammate's wrist and hits your child's face. If he or she is not wearing a mouth guard, the contact will likely damage the teeth, gums and/or tongue.
It is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Pop in a sports mouth guard when enjoying something even slightly risky like cycling and you will have the confidence you need to go all-out. Prepare for the worst and you will almost surely end up with favorable results. However, some non-contact sports such as golf, tennis and running do not require the use of a mouth guard.
There is a distinction between tennis and racquetball. Tennis is on a comparably large court. There is no risk of running into your opponent or being hit by a wayward racket as can happen when playing racquetball. Regardless, always wear protective goggles and a sports mouth guard when competing in any form of sport.
How can you really use this information?
For more mouth guard information or to schedule an appointment with Vanek Dentistry, request an appointment in our Costa Mesa dental office here: https://vanekdentistry.com. Or call us at (714) 545-7157.
Dr. Eric Vanek, d.d.s
Eric has been a practicing dental surgeon for over 20 years and is the owner of Vanek Dentistry, a family dental practice in Costa Mesa, CA.
Published May 2, 2018. Updated July 12, 2023