• Victoria Ip

To mouthguard or not to mouthguard, that is the question.

One of the best things of living in Australia is the amount of space that is dedicated for sports. No matter where you live, just around the corner, there will always be a park or sports ground that appear very inviting.

However, have you ever thought about the damage that may occur to your teeth when you play sports? Surely, on tv you may have seen footy stars walk off the field whilst spitting out blood or even with their tooth in their hand... Surely, you are also thinking that there is no way you will get such horrific injury by just playing cricket in your own backyard... Let me tell you, apart from decay, one of the biggest killer is the competitiveness of human beings. When winning or losing is based on one move, teeth tend to always get in the way.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has compiled a generalised list of sports that you should be careful in, these includes:

Football, boxing, rugby, basketball, hockey, water polo, lacrosse, netball, baseball, softball, squash, soccer, BMX bike riding, horse riding, skateboarding, skating, trampolining, cricket, skiing etc.

If you want to continue to play in these sports and do not want to traumatise your teeth, please wear a mouthguard!!!!!

ADA has provided a very good summary of how a mouthguard will help prevent trauma:

There are several types of mouthguards that you can get.

1. Supermarket style

2. Chemist style

3. Dentist custom-fitted

As a dentist myself, I will most likely be biased in which option I would choose. However, from my experience, the ones that you buy from the supermarket/chemist is a piece of material that you soften and mould around your teeth. Many times, it will fit (not very comfortably) but it will definitely be better than having no mouthguard.

You can always try the supermarket/chemist ones first and then try the custom-fitted mouthguard. But it will be very obvious that the custom-fitted mouthguard provides more coverage, hence, more protection.

I can guarentee that once you have tried the custom-fitted mouthguard, you will definitely not go back!!

There are many times that we count our luck. We believe that incidents only occur in extreme cases or it will never happen to ourselves. I have seen too many cases that I am not willing to bet my teeth on my luck - chances of definitely not traumatising the teeth is much less than winning the lottery....

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