Mouth Guards in Sports

According to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety, a young athlete is 60x more likely to sustain damage to the mouth and teeth when not wearing an athletic mouth guard. In the book Text and Color Atlas of Traumatic Injuries to the Teeth, the authors list 8 functions of a mouth guard:

    1. Prevention of lacerations and bruising during impact by acting as a buffer between soft tissue and the teeth
    2. Prevent tooth fractures or dislocation by cushioning the teeth from direct frontal blows while redistributing the forces of the impact
    3. Opposing teeth are protected from seismic contact with each other
    4. The mandible is afforded elastic recuperative support that can prevent fracture or damage to the unsupported angle of the lower jaw
    5. Reduce neurologic injury by acting as a shock absorber between upper/lower jaws. Without a mouth guard, the trauma of the jaws violently jarring together can distribute the impact from the condyles for the mandible against the base of the skull resulting in a concussion
    6. Provide positive reinforcement in the prevention of neck injuries
    7. Provide psychologic benefit to athletes. Findings suggest athletes feel more confident and aggressive when having proper protection
    8. Fill edentulous spaces and help support adjacent teeth. This allows removable prostheses to be taken out during athletic competitions

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