ADA mouthguards

April 7, 2011
April 2011 is National Facial Protection Month.

CHICAGO, Illinois--As spring gets into full swing, many people look forward to enjoying the sunshine. So when you suit up with kneepads and wrist guards, don’t forget a mouthguard too, according to the American Dental Association.

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“Most people don’t consider wearing mouthguards while participating in sports that don’t commonly involve physical contact, but a fall off of a bike or an elbow to the jaw during a game of basketball can damage or knock out a tooth, so it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Dr. Maria Lopez Howell, ADA Consumer Advisor spokesperson and a practicing dentist in Garden Ridge, Texas.

National Facial Protection Month in April 2011 offers dental professionals the opportunity to encourage children and adults to use protective mouthguards during sports and certain recreational activities, such as rollerblading and skateboarding.

Mouthguards, which typically cover the upper teeth, can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth, according to the ADA. A properly fitted mouthguard will stay in place and be easy for users to talk and breathe while wearing.

There are three types of mouthguards:

* Stock mouthguards are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often do not fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

* Boil and bite mouthguards are available at many sporting goods stores, and offer a better fit than stock mouthguards. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of the mouth. Follow the directions carefully to avoid a poor fit.

* Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by a dentist in a dental office or a dental laboratory based on a dentist’s instructions. An impression is taken of the teeth and a mouthguard is created using the model. Custom-fitted mouthguards are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf.

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