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Mouthguards Key to Preventing Sports-Related Injuries

September 02, 2015

As a kid growing up in Saint Paul, I lived and breathed sports. From football to golf to baseball, I pretty much played them all. To this day, I still do my best to get out and play both golf and hockey. Given this athletic background, I have seen firsthand the importance of mouthguards in sports. In my opinion, there is no easier way to help athletes of all ages in their athletic endeavors than to provide them with a proper fitting, comfortable mouthguard.

Throughout the past 35 years of my dental career, I have worked in all areas of general dentistry in the Macalester-Groveland area and seen a variety of dental problems. Unfortunately, one of the most consistent problems I see are injuries due to sports. While the numbers have significantly declined over the years due to improved protection, people are still coming in with fractured teeth, TMJ problems, and concussions. Fortunately, the majority of these problems are preventable by simply wearing a sports mouthguard.

Here at Park Dental, getting a custom fit mouthguard is both easy and affordable. The first appointment takes about half an hour and involves getting an impression of your teeth and choosing your desired color. This impression is then sent off to the lab where they create the custom mouthguard, which is ready to be picked up at your next appointment in one week. At this second appointment, we ensure that the mouthguard properly fits. While many sporting goods stores sell mouthguards that can be made at home, I highly recommend a custom one rather than a one-size-fits-all. These store bought mouthguards can be uncomfortable and not very protective. It is crucial that mouthguards are comfortable and fit properly or else they won’t be worn, leaving your teeth unprotected.

Unfortunately, mouthguards can’t prevent all dental problems related to sports. One problem that still exists among athletes is the chewing of tobacco. As a dental professional, I find this habit disgusting. Chewing tobacco not only leads to serious gum damage, but it can also lead to oral cancer. Therefore, chewing tobacco is simply not worth the risk. Another less serious, but more prevalent, problem is the overuse of sports drinks such as Gatorade. If you are a professional athlete, I understand the need to replenish your electrolytes. However, for younger athletes who do not need to replenish their electrolytes, sports drinks contain too much sugar. Therefore, I recommend sticking with water whenever possible.

If you would like a custom mouthguard made for you or someone in your family, please schedule an appointment at your local Park Dental practice. We’d love to help protect your smile and answer any questions you have about dentistry in sports. This easy solution helps all involved, leaving everyone with happy, healthy smiles.

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