Mouthguards provide the obvious benefit of protecting the teeth and gums from injury during contact sports. However, more recent news reveals that mouthguards deliver another important role for athletes. They may be able to reduce the risk of brain injury, or sport-related concussions.
Concussions in youth sports have been a hot topic in the past few years. Measures have been taken on a national level to help prevent this type of serious head injury in football, soccer, basketball and other sports. For any parent who shares this concern, it is important to know how a simple investment in a custom mouthguard can help alleviate your anxiety.
Mouthguards help to absorb shock of a head injury as well as stabilize the head and neck during blunt trauma to the jaw. The May/June 2014 issue of General Dentistry, a peer reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, reported study findings that prove how a custom mouthguard is more favorable than a store-bought mouthguard when it comes to concussion prevention.
The study revealed that youth football players that wore store-bought mouthguards were twice as likely to suffer trauma to the brain compared to the players who wore a custom mouthguard from their dentist (8.3 % versus 3.6%). A custom mouthguard fits better because it is fabricated with high quality materials using a unique impression of the patient’s teeth. A mouthguard that is loose or not durable can only offer limited protection, especially when it comes to protection of the head and neck.
Does a custom mouthguard from your dentist cost more than one from your local sporting goods store? In nearly all cases, yes. However, the benefits of protecting your child from brain injuries during sports far outweighs the cost. Contact Gilreath Family Dentistry today to learn more about our excellence in Sports Dentistry!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,