Hiking, biking and sports are a great way to enjoy summer, but if you are not well-protected, these activities can be dangerous for your teeth. Taking a few extra steps to protect your mouth and your smile will eliminate the risk and give you peace-of-mind to enjoy your favorite activities.
Wearing a helmet is a no-brainer, but what are you wearing to protect your teeth when biking or cycling? Whether you ride on streets or trails, a fall can happen anywhere which means you should be wearing as much protective clothing as possible. A mouth guard can prevent riders from biting their lips, tongue or chipping a tooth.
Picking up a game of baseball, softball, football or soccer at the park? Mouth guards are a must here, too. Bats can get away from batters and one wrong throw could send the ball flying toward your face. If you have braces or other dental appliances, mouth guards are an absolute must to prevent cuts, jaw injuries or breaking your appliance, which are not cheap to repair or replace.
For contact sports, consider one of these three types of mouth guards:
- Stock Mouth Guard: This is the cheapest option. Stock mouth guards can be purchased at any local drugstore or sporting goods store. Since stock mouth guards are the cheapest option, they don’t offer the best protection because they are not securely fitted, but they are a better option than nothing at all.
- Mouth-formed Protectors: Mouth-formed protectors come in two varieties: as a shell-liner or as a”boil-and-bite”, this malleability allows them to mold to the shape of your teeth, offering better protection with a secure fit. These are available at sporting goods stores.
- Custom-made Mouth Protectors: Customization offers individualized protection tailored just for your mouth. Customization does make these protectors the most expensive, but they are also offer the best coverage. Custom-made mouth guards will have to be created by your dentist. Check your dental insurance plan to see if all or some of this will be covered by your plan.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), athletes who do not wear a mouth guard are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth. Get in the habit of wearing a protective mouth guard and remember to take care of it.
Mouth Guard Care
- Rinse your mouth guard before and after each use.
- Don’t leave a mouth guard in the sun or hot water.
- Routinely clean it with soapy water and rise thoroughly.
- Store your mouth guard in a container that has vents.
- Check for wear and replace your mouth guard when necessary.
- Take your mouth guard with you to dentist appointments so it can be inspected regularly.
Taking care of your teeth can get expensive, preventative measures like mouth guards will keep you moving and out of the dentist’s chair for another sun-soaked summer season.