Leading an active lifestyle can help you enjoy time with friends and reduce your risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. As the weather warms up, this is a great time of year to get outside, enjoy the sunlight, and play your favorite sports. May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a holiday to raise awareness about the importance of athleticism and motivate Americans to engage in healthier habits. Sports are a great way to get fit and have fun in your local community, but you need to wear the right protective gear for these activities.
You might not realize it, but safeguarding your teeth during sports is just as important as wearing the right shoes or pads. At Dr. Stephen J. Gershberg’s Villanova dental practice, we’re committing to helping our patients maintain their fitness and their smiles. In honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, this blog will cover how a custom made sports guard could help you (or your teenaged athlete) preserve your oral health on the field or court.
Why Do You Need a Sports Guard?
According to the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center, “dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports.” Your front teeth are especially vulnerable to sports-related trauma: 8 out of 10 dental injuries “affect at least one of the front teeth.” Falling, crashing into another player, or getting hit by a ball could shift, chip, crack, fracture, or even knock out your teeth. Dental damage can be uncomfortable, unsightly, and unhealthy. Missing teeth can leave gaps in your smile that may require dental implants or other restorations to replace. Teeth with weak spots, cracks, or injured tissue are also more susceptible to infection, decay, or other conditions.
A custom made sports guard sits between and fits over your teeth to protect them. If you experience an impact while wearing this appliance, it will help absorb the force of the injury so it does not damage your teeth. Many patients and parents mistakenly believe that sports guards are only necessary for notoriously violent sports, such as hockey, lacrosse, or football. However, according to Mom’s Team, “studies show that the majority of mouth injuries occur in such popular youth sports as baseball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, softball, and gymnastics, which lag far behind in injury protection.” If you play a sport, it’s better to use a mouth guard and be safe rather than sorry.
Dr. Gershberg provides PlaySafe® Mouth Guards to help shield you from dental trauma. If you require a sports guard, we will take an impression of your mouth to create a custom 3D model of it. Then, Dr. Gershberg will send this information to our lab, where experienced technicians will custom make your appliance to suit your mouth. Once your sports guard is ready, Dr. Gershberg will see you for a second appointment to ensure that it fits your mouth. According to PlaySafe®, “the American Dental Association estimates that” their sports guards prevent “more than 200,000 oral injuries” annually and “statistics show that when worn properly, a protective mouthpiece decreases the risk of oral injury by 99 percent.” Dr. Gershberg regularly creates sports guards for use by adults and teenagers in athletic activities.
Maintaining Your Sports Guard
Since you need to use them on a regular basis, sports guards don’t last forever. To preserve your oral hygiene, you should brush your sports guard with toothpaste and cold water (heat can change the shape of your appliance) after each use, dry it, and store it in a plastic container. You should also bring your sports guard with you to routine cleanings and exams at our office so Dr. Gershberg can make sure it is not warped or damaged.
About Your Sports Guard Dentist in Main Line Area
Dr. Gershberg uses his 30 years of dental experience to help our patients enjoy healthy, attractive smiles. He can help you defend your smile from harm with a custom sports guard. To celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month by protecting your teeth, contact us today or call 610-527-6700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gershberg.