Did you know that 5-10% of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season? According to the CDC, 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year. Sports-related incidents are gaining widespread attention and even President Obama has weighed in and initiated efforts to address and prevent concussions in youth sports. While many coaches and parents use a helmet to protect against a concussion or other head-related injury, a custom mouth guard is an important piece of equipment that should be considered as well. An athletic mouth guard does more than just protect your smile; it can also protect your skull.
An athletic mouth guard prevents concussions by securely keeping the jaw in proper alignment with the rest of the skull. This prevents the jaw from being forced into the skull during a traumatic injury, which can cause a concussion. A mouth guard can also effectively prevent tooth fractures, lip lacerations and gum injuries.
If you have made the decision to wear or have your child wear a mouth guard to prevent concussions and mouth trauma, you may be weighing your options on the type of athletic mouth guard to buy. The best advice is to invest in a mouth guard that your child will actually wear. Many stock or “boil-and-bite” mouth guards do not fit nearly as comfortably as a custom mouth guard. Patients consistently find that a custom fitted guard is more durable and effective than its cheaper counterparts. A professionally-fit mouth guard will securely stay in place, giving athletes the confidence to talk confidently, breathe easily and even drink water without removing it. If you choose an over-the-counter mouth guard, you also run the risk of it falling out during trauma, which means it loses its ability to prevent a concussion.
If you are ready to start protecting yourself or your loved one from a sports-related mouth injury or concussion, visit your dentist. Park South Dentistry offers top quality, custom mouth guards for sports. Remember that a mouth guard is not just reserved for football players. Basketball, baseball, lacrosse and soccer players can all benefit from this protective gear. The protection far outweighs the investment!