Whatever your sport, having the right equipment is always at the top of the list. Whether it’s a the perfect pair of shoes, well-fitting pads or just the right bat, stick or glove, proper equipment is a must for any athlete.

BUT, WHAT ABOUT A MOUTH GUARD?

Too often, a properly fitted mouth guard falls to the bottom of the equipment list, and often doesn’t make the list at all! According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Orthodontists in 2017, 37% of parents admitted that their children did not wear a mouth guard while playing sports.

Athletes participating in contact sports, and even those playing non-contact sports, are at risk not only for broken or knocked-out teeth (which can cost $5,000 to $20,000 over a lifetime!) but a myriad of other maxillofacial injuries such as lacerations of the lips and cheeks, or a fractured jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will absorb the force of impact to the mouth and will help protect it.

In fact, a 2018 study by the American Dental Association found the prevalence of dental trauma among mouth guard users to be 7.5% to 7.75% compared to 48.31% to 59.98% to non-users, and that mouth guard users were between 82% and 93% less likely to suffer dentofacial injuries.

For those with orthodontic appliances, boil and bite or form-fitting mouth guards should be avoided. A special mouth guard is needed that is used specifically for braces and other orthodontic appliances. Talk to your orthodontist about your options for a mouth guard if you are undergoing care.

For those without braces or appliances, choose a properly fitted mouth guard that is comfortable, resilient and tear-resistant. When in use, it should not restrict speech or breathing.

Need a mouth guard just for orthodontic appliances? Give your local AO office a call! Associated Orthodontists has six convenient locations in Joliet, Plainfield, Morris, New Lenox, Frankfort and Bourbonnais — plus offers convenient Virtual Consultations. Please visit greatbraces.com to find a location near you or to schedule a complimentary consultation.