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Summer is officially here, and before you know it practices will be starting for the fall sports season.

That means now is a great time to get prepared for the upcoming season. As you are picking out the right shoes for your sport, take some time to get fitted for something equally important — an athletic mouthguard.

If you live in or near Oregon City, OR, we encourage you to visit Pioneer Dental Group to get a custom-fitted mouthguard for the best protection for your mouth.

The Importance Of Mouthguards

The American Dental Association (ADA) has encouraged the use of athletic mouthguards during high-impact sports for decades for a simple reason. Mouthguards reduce injuries to your teeth.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) also has been public in its support for mouthguards, and custom-fitted athletic mouthguards in particular. A recent 10-year study found that nearly one-third of children’s oral surgeries involved injuries incurred while participating in sports.

We don’t mention this to discourage anyone from playing sports, but rather to encourage you to take precautions during these high-impact activities. By some estimates, mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries every year.

Types Of Mouthguards

All athletic mouthguards provide some level of protection, but it would be wrong to believe that all mouthguards are created equal.

Both the ADA and the AAPD recommend custom-fitted mouthguards to provide the best protection. Why is this? Let’s compare custom-fitted mouthguards to the other kinds that you can buy.

Stock mouthguards will provide some protection. However, they may or may not fit correctly over your teeth, and they can’t be adjusted to fit more snugly.

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are a step up from the stock mouthguards. By boiling and then biting down on these mouthguards, you can improve the overall fit. Unfortunately, these mouthguards are often bulky, which can make them awkward to wear during practices and games.

A custom-fitted mouthguard is made specifically to fit your (or your child’s) mouth. These mouthguards are smaller, which makes them more comfortable to wear and less likely to interfere with your ability to speak during practices and games.

Who Should Wear Mouthguards?

Anyone who participates in high-impact activities should wear custom-fitted athletic mouthguards.

In the fall, football, volleyball, and soccer players should wear mouthguards. These are all considered high-impact sports. The heavy contact in football is an obvious concern, but why are volleyball and soccer considered high impact activities?

Volleyball players have to jump frequently, and the impact of the repeated landings doesn’t just affect their ankles and knees. Hard landings can cause your jaw to close violently, which can damage your teeth (unless you are wearing a mouthguard).

It’s also possible for volleyball players to be hit in the face by the ball itself as a direct result of a hard hit or an awkward bounce.

Soccer players experience high impacts through their repeated changes of direction and speed and their attempts to strike and redirect the ball with their heads.

You don’t have to be on the field or the court to participate in a high-impact activity, however. Cheerleaders often attempt high-impact routines.

Even if you aren’t on a team, you may experience high impact on your joints through activities like skateboarding and mountain biking.

Again, all these sports and activities are great ways to improve your fitness and cardiovascular health. Many of these activities have required protective gear, and we hope you will include an athletic mouthguard along with your helmets and pads.

What About The Cost?

It’s true that custom-fitted athletic mouthguards are more expensive than the mouthguards that you can buy at the store. That’s isn’t the main consideration to consider, however.

The real consideration is the cost of having a mouthguard compared to the cost of the dental care that may be required in the event of an oral injury.

Athletic mouthguards can’t prevent an accident from happening, but much like seatbelts in cars, they can reduce your risk of injury. We would much rather see you in a comfortable, properly fitting mouthguard than see you after you’ve suffered trauma to your mouth or jaw.

Preventive Care

At Pioneer Dental Group, we encourage our patients to brush, floss, and visit us a couple time each year as part of our preventive dentistry. Wearing a mouthguard during high-impact sports is an extension of that preventive care.

Make an appointment now at our dentist office in Oregon City, OR, so you can have your mouthguard ready before fall sports practices begin. Just use our online form or call (503) 388-4691 to schedule your fitting.