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The huddle

August 24, 2017

Mouth Guard Myths & Facts

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Mouth guards are annoying pieces of rubber that make you mumble your words to your teammates, ruin your chirps to your opponents, and are fun to chew on. Despite players wearing mouth guards, many are unaware of the factual reasons as to why we choose to wear them. An although mouth guards may seem annoying, they do prevent injuries. Although Stephen Curry seems to give the impression that they are useless, these small inventive pieces of equipment can come in handy when saving your chiclets from harm! To help you out, here are some myths and facts about mouth guards.

MYTHS:

Myth #1: Mouth guards help prevent concussions.

When it comes to mouth guards, no credible research has been done that proves mouth guards prevent concussions. Studies show that the use of helmets and protective gear such a cages, visors, and mouth guards are highly recommended for preventing catastrophic head injuries and other traumatic head and facial injuries. However, the use of helmets and mouth guards will not prevent a concussion from occurring as they do not affect the movement of the brain within the skull and cerebrospinal fluid, so they are ineffective at reducing the forces on the brain that cause concussions. While mouth guards help reduce dental injuries, substantial evidence stating that mouth guards reduce concussions is still unavailable.

Myth #2: A more expensive, custom-fit mouth guard provides more protection than a simple boil and bite.

According to Dr. Tator, a professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto a neurosurgeon-in-chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Toronto’s Western Hospital, “There is no evidence that custom-fit do a better job than ‘boil and bite’ mouth guards. There are no statistics to suggest that custom-fit mouth guards are better than boil and bite mouth guards”. With this being said, there may be a higher level of comfort with a custom-fit mouth guard than boil and bite, but it does not give you more protection.

Myth #3: Mouth guards are mandatory in all contact sports.

Mouth guards are only recommended in the United States. The National Federation of State High School Association, suggests that mouth guards be worn for high school football, lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey, and even wrestlers. In Canada, mouth guards are mandatory for most minor hockey players, amateur football, amateur rugby, karate, taekwondo, lacrosse, and amateur boxing. As for wearing a mouth guard worldwide, the only professional sport where mouth guards are mandatory, is boxing.

FACTS:

Fact #1: Mouth guards only prevent ortho-facial and skull injuries.

Research conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) found that individuals are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard while engaged in contact sports or vigorous physical exercise. This shocking fact alone illustrates the importance of protective mouth guards.

Fact #2: You are 60 times more likely to be injured when not wearing a mouth guard.

As mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and teeth, each year statistics show that individuals are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard while engaged in contact sports or vigorous physical exercise.

Fact #3: Mouth guards are now recommended in 29 sports.

While protective mouth guards were first used in the sport of boxing during the 1920s, the ADA now recommends their use in 29 different high contact sports and activities. Some of these include: acrobatics, baseball, basketball, bicycling, field hockey, football, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, softball, volleyball, and wrestling.

 

Sources:
https://www.embreedentistry.com/blog/post/the-importance-of-mouthguards—do-you-know-the-facts.html

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/concussions-and-the-mouth-guard-myth-1.845686

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