Mouthguard in the spotlight

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mouthguardsFollowing on from research done by the ADA (mentioned in our first story), it’s clear many Australians love their sport, but aren’t getting the message about using the right types of mouthguard.

When it comes to mouthguard use, three in four (75 per cent) active adults who do wear mouthguards wear uncertified, over-the-counter mouthguards, thinking their teeth are protected when playing sport. One in two (53.3 per cent) parents admit they let their children wear over-the-counter mouthguards as well.

“Not all mouthguards provide adequate protection, and in some cases, can cause even more damage,” said Dr Alldritt. “We urge active adults and the parents of active children to visit their dentist before their next game and have a custom made mouthguard fitted – the only type of mouthguard recommended by dentists.

The Australian Society of Orthodontists have put out a news release pointing out that sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. When wearing braces other potential injuries such as cuts to the mouth also need to be taken into account.

The easiest way to avoid injury is to ensure your kids have an orthodontic mouthguard. “An orthodontic mouthguard is different from a “normal” mouthguard as it is specially designed to be worn while undertaking orthodontic treatment,” the society said in its release.

“Mouthguards are particularly important if your kids are playing football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, netball, water polo or hockey, or any contact sports as they provide protection against the braces being hit by a ball or another player.

“Also bear in mind that orthodontists often see mouth and jaw injuries from non-contact sports such as gymnastics and activities such as skateboarding, mountain biking, rollerblading, trampolining or horse riding. Chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth and even tooth loss are common injuries you want to avoid.

“An orthodontic mouthguard needs to fit well but allow the teeth to move during orthodontic treatment. Mouth guards made with gel fillings are suitable but need to be remoulded as the teeth are being straightened during orthodontic treatment.

“An orthodontic mouthguard is a cushioning appliance made of flexible material and may fit more loosely over the teeth than a regular mouthguard, as it allows for the teeth to move during orthodontic treatment. It helps prevent injuries to the teeth and mouth, acting as a ‘crash helmet’ for teeth and jaws, preventing the jaws from coming together fully and reducing the risk of joint injuries and concussion. It also prevents accidental biting of the lips, tongue or cheeks and can help prevent damage to braces ’brackets’ from a blow to the face.

“There are specially designed orthodontic mouthguards which are available from your orthodontist. For some sports, special custom-made orthodontic mouthguards may be needed.

“If undergoing orthodontic work, an orthodontist should be consulted about the best mouthguard for each sport. Removable retainers or other removable appliances should not be worn during any contact sports.”

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