Are you wondering which sports you need a mouthguard for?
Well, think about it — contact sports such as hockey and football feature facemasks and helmets. However, non-contact sports like basketball and soccer don’t necessarily require players to wear a mouthguard. So, this means that only combat sports like MMA and boxing should truly require mouthguards, correct?
Wrong. While the logic makes sense that combat sports feature intentional, constant, and repeated hits to the face with negligible facial protection, the reason is quite flawed.
A mouthguard isn’t mandatory because of the amount of contact; it’s mandatory to safeguard against any sort of contact, intentional or not. So, the sports requiring mouthguards are those that entirely lack facial protection, such as cages, face shields, or facemasks of any kind.
While this includes combat sports, especially striking sports like MMA and boxing, non-contact sports aren’t an exception. Yes, hits to the face can be accidental in non-contact sports, but they’re just as damaging.
Athletes are far more likely to receive an orofacial injury — an injury to the face or mouth — during their playing career. Unfortunately, a damaged/broken tooth doesn’t heal like a bone, which means lifelong surgeries, appointments, and maintenance with a lifetime cost of thousands of dollars — and that’s just to replace a single tooth.
While lacrosse, basketball, field hockey, soccer, and even mountain biking may not come under the heading of contact sports, every athletic activity features a natural risk of injury or accidental contact. While hitting/checking and body contact is limited or illegal, the games are still physical and feature their share of injuries.
Basketball, for example, is played violently with elbows and bodies flying everywhere. Lacrosse and field hockey feature dangerous, heavy sticks and balls. A blow to the face from a stick or a player’s elbow without a mouthguard in place can lead to a serious injury.
This is why you need protection, irrespective of which sport you play.
As a leading supplier of dentist made mouth guards, we discuss which sports require a mouthguard and why:
Since gymnasts interact with a number of different equipment, there’s a small chance of getting hit with an object in the mouth or falling on something. According to the American Dental Association, every gymnast must wear a mouthguard.
Blocking is one of the main parts of playing basketball — there’s a possibility that someone gets elbowed in the mouth. While this isn’t as damaging to anyone not wearing braces, those wearing them may hurt the inner parts of their teeth/mouth. So, ensure you wear a guard.
Ice hockey or field hockey
You can accidentally get hit by the puck or by a stay-stick swing. This can harm your teeth or gums, especially if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Since this is a high-contact sport, you should wear mouthguards for both games and practice sessions.
Bicycling, skateboarding, and rollerblading
You should wear a mouthguard when you’re performing an activity that requires you to travel over concrete at high speeds. While there’s the obvious potential of crashing into something and spoiling the treatment, you may also be struck in the mouth by your equipment.
You should wear a guard over your braces if you’re playing football. These sports require a fair bit of running, which means there’s a chance of being injured by tripping too.
Generally, with all sports that have a ball, you’ll want to wear a mouthguard.
Kickboxing, wrestling, and martial arts
Largely due to the high-contact nature of these sports, you’ll want to ensure that you wear a mouthguard every time. There’s always a possibility of being accidentally hit in the face, which may harm your treatment or teeth.
Mouth injuries are way more common than you think. Without a custom mouthguard, things like head trauma, jaw injuries, and missing teeth are more likely to happen, which is why wearing a mouthguard for such sports is highly recommended.
Softball and baseball
While these sports are non-contact, there’s still a risk of receiving a mouth injury while playing. You can accidentally get hit or struck trying to make it on the plate.
While you won’t usually make contact with other players, a stray ball hitting your mouth could severely damage the teeth and braces. Ensure you wear a mouthguard during practices and games.
So, which mouthguard is perfect for your sport? Every sport necessitates a different kind of protection, and some leagues and sports even have specific rules and regulations, as not all allow certain logos and colors to be displayed.
For sports that require full protection — lacrosse, football, or ice hockey — you want a mouthguard that provides a lighter frontal profile with extra protection against lower and upper jaw collisions as a result of body contact in the sport. For non-contact sports, you need a mouthguard that features more frontal protection.
The right protection begins with a minimum of 4mm of material in the critical impact zones — the areas under the molars and in the front of the teeth. Yes, the impact isn’t intentional in these sports, but it does happen. However, to allow proper breathing and communication, it shouldn’t be overdone.
Fortunately, dental injuries can be easily prevented through a sports mouthguard. According to experts, athletes should wear mouthguards in recreational and competitive sports in which collision, contact, and impact are likely to occur.
You should wear custom mouthguards for acrobats, wrestling, weightlifting, water polo, volleyball, surfing, squash, soccer, skydiving, skiing, skateboarding, shot putting, rugby, roller hockey, racquetball, martial arts, lacrosse, ice hockey, handball, gymnastics, football, field hockey, boxing, basketball, baseball, and softball infielders. The athletes must wear mouthguards during every competition and practice session.
You should consider using mouthguards if you play a sport or participate in recreational activities. Using a mouthguard can lessen your risk of mouth-related injuries like soft tissue, tongue, lips, and teeth. According to recent studies, mouthguards may also minimize a concussion’s severity.
Don’t forget to consider your risk of facial injury if you participate in any sport. For instance, softball isn’t a mandated sport for mouthguards. But if you’re a pitcher on a fast-pitch softball team, wear a mouthguard because line drives are common. While a line drive to the face may lead to extensive dental damage, a mouthguard will safeguard your teeth. In soccer, players may get hit with the ball. Therefore, we recommend a mouthguard for every player.
To sum it up, we understand how important a custom-fit and high-quality mouthguard is to athletes who want to safeguard their teeth. We also understand that custom-fit mouthguards can be a tad expensive when you visit a dentist. While this cost can be high, it’s far less than the thousands of dollars that dental injuries may cost.
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