The summer is in full swing. That means swimming, cookouts, and maybe even exciting summer trips. But, as quickly as it started, summer break will soon come to an end. Your kids will be back in school, and that means planning lunches and after-school activities. Millions of Americans will soon be enrolling their children in athletics during the school year, too.
Youth athletics have changed for the better over the past decades, as schools and organizations are putting a higher focus on safety. A few weeks ago I came across a news story about Shock Doctor, an athletic mouthguard provider, that inked a partnership with the NBA and WNBA. As part of the partnership, the organizations plan to work together to educate children about the importance of protecting their teeth during athletics with mouthguard.
You might remember seeing a bit of news about mouthguards during the NBA finals. Golden State Warriors All-star Steph Curry, who is infamous for chewing on his mouthguard between play, tossed his mouthguard into the stands after fouling out of Game 6, accidentally striking a fan. Curry immediately apologized, and the story became a minor footnote in an otherwise tremendous series.
I’m not here to comment about the mouthpiece incident, but rather the mouthguard culture in professional sports. Over the years, I’ve noticed more and more basketball players wearing mouthpieces to protect their teeth. It’s great to see, and for dentists, we can turn to professional athletes to encourage kids to also wear mouthguards while playing sports.
What Can a Mouthguard Do for You or Your Kids?
We encourage our patients to use mouthguards while playing any contact sport. In Oregon, our state requires student athletes to wear mouthguards while playing sports like football, lacrosse, hockey. Dental researchers from the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have found that the use of mouthguards has reduced dental and facial injuries. The National Federal of State High School Association also logs data on oral-facial injuries. If you’re looking at statistics from football, oral-facial injuries have gone down by about 49 percent since facemasks and mouthguard were required.
Custom Mouthguards vs. Over-the-Counter Mouthguards
Any mouthguard will help protect your teeth and gums, but there is a difference in the type of mouthguards you can get. The most important aspect of a mouthguard is the fit. Boil-and-bite mouthguards, which are sold at any drugstore, allow you to take an impression to fit over your teeth but they are still one-size-fits-all. When your mouthguard is not customized, it’s less effective at absorbing contact.
The custom mouthguard is designed here in our office. Once we have taken an impression of your teeth, we will craft a mouthguard that fits snuggly over your teeth. Boil-and-bite mouthguards have a tendency to obstruct the airway, which makes it difficult for the athlete to breathe properly. You will never have that problem with our custom mouthguards, as our mouthguards actually push the jawbone forward to leave the airways open.
School and the school athletics are just around the corner. Don’t wait to give your child a custom mouthguard that will protect their teeth and oral health. Call us today at 503-917-0523 to schedule your appointment.
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