Mouthguards, or mouth protectors, are small but mighty tools for protecting yourself while playing hockey. Mouthguards are typically required for hockey, so it’s essential to have this accessory on hand when you’re playing. Investing in a good mouthguard can save you thousands of dollars in the long run as long as you use it right. Find a hockey mouthguard in Chicago at Gunzo’s. Call or visit us in stores for help from a knowledgeable team member to find the right mouthguard.
Does my child need a hockey mouthguard?
Mouthguards sit just inside your lips and provide a shield for your teeth while you’re playing hockey. This piece of protective equipment helps cushion the blow if you’re hit on the face or jaw. It effectively absorbs and redistributes some of that force so it’s not all centered on one or two teeth, as it might be without your mouthguard in place. By dissipating some of the force, a mouthguard reduces your chance of injury.
A mouthguard protects your teeth from the force of impact while also protecting your delicate gums, cheek lining, lips, and tongue from cuts or abrasions due to contact with your teeth. Your top teeth are at the highest risk when you’re playing sports, but the bottom teeth can sustain or cause damage as well.
Mouthguards can also reduce the risk of a concussion. In one study, youth ice hockey players were shown to have a 64% lower risk of concussion when wearing a mouthguard. These findings evaluated both individuals in custom-fit and off-the-shelf mouthguards, demonstrating that mouth protection is effective and important in either form.
Hockey mouthguards are one of the cheapest pieces of hockey equipment that you can buy, and they can save you from thousands of dollars worth of dental repairs. Studies have shown that mouthguards are very effective at preventing dental injuries during hockey. One study in Alberta found that the mouth is the third most common area to sustain an injury during hockey, after the arms and legs. The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that as many as 39% of all dental injuries are related to sports.
At what age should hockey players wear a mouthguard?
If a child is old enough to play hockey, they’re old enough to wear a mouthguard. This item provides crucial protection for children’s developing teeth and jawbones. You can get a mouthguard that’s properly sized for any child, regardless of age. It’s simply important to remember that smaller players need smaller equipment. Proper fit is essential when you purchase a mouthguard.
There is no age where you’re too old for a mouthguard. Mouthguards are even (or perhaps especially) important for professional hockey players. This is a high-impact sport, and your teeth aren’t easy to fix. Always wear a mouthguard on the hockey rink, no matter your age.
Do mouthguards work with braces?
Not only do mouthguards work with braces, but they’re especially important. If you have orthodontics in your mouth, a blow to the face can be devastating. The force of the impact can severely damage the appliances in your mouth. The loose brackets, wires, and other components can then become hazards themselves, creating sharp pieces of metal that can seriously injure your mouth and face.
A mouthguard will create a secure barrier that keeps your braces from making contact with your inner lips and cheeks, even if the hardware gets broken. Having a mouthguard in place will reduce the likelihood of damaging your orthodontics and make it easier to repair this damage should it occur.
Make sure your mouthguard covers all your braces. If you have braces on both the upper and lower teeth, you will need a mouthguard that covers both the top and bottom. Speak with your orthodontist to make sure you have the best mouthguard for your needs.
How do I choose a mouthguard for hockey?
There are many options available on the market, so it’s important to know how to choose the best mouthguard for your needs. There are three main varieties:
- Off-the-Shelf: These ready-made mouthguards are designed for immediate wear. You can use them right out of the box. These are usually the lightest-weight option.
- Mouth-Adapted Mouthguards: A popular middle-of-the-line option, these mouthguards feature an inner lining that softens when boiled, so you can immerse them in hot water and bite down for a semi-custom fit. These are a bit more heavy-duty than off-the-shelf options.
- Custom-Fit Mouthguards: If you’re a serious hockey player, you may want to invest in a custom-fit mouthguard. This product is molded to your individual teeth by a professional. It’s the most heavy-duty option.
When you’re assessing the fit of your mouthguard, you should find that it:
- Allows you to breathe comfortably
- Doesn’t make it impossible to talk (though you will sound different)
- Stays in even if you’re not clenching your teeth
- Loosens and comes out when nudged with your tongue
- Covers all your teeth up to your molars
- Covers some of your gums
- Does not need to be readjusted
You should also check the fine print when you’re purchasing a mouthguard. Many products come with a dental warranty. This means that the manufacturer will cover your out-of-pocket dental costs if you’re injured while using the product properly. You will need to register the product to secure this protection.
How should I care for my mouthguard?
It’s important to clean and care for your mouthguard properly. Clean the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse thoroughly both before and after use. Make sure the mouthguard is clean and dry before you put it away. Use a hard container that will keep the mouthguard safe, and choose one with small vents so it stays dry. Periodically clean your mouthguard in soap and water, and take it to your dentist during appointments for a more thorough evaluation and cleaning.
Children will need to replace their mouthguards regularly as they grow, so it’s important to check the fit often and keep up with replacements as needed. The right mouthguard will make a dramatic difference if you suffer a facial injury during hockey, so always keep one in place. To learn more about getting the right protective gear for hockey, contact our staff at Gunzo’s today!