Managing Wellness

Sports-Related Dental Injuries: What You Need to Know

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Posted by July 25, 2016

Did you know that one-quarter of American adults play sports? Participating in sports helps your employees keep their bodies healthy, but it can also mean increased occurrence of dental injuries. Sports-related dental injuries result in pain, stress and missed work days, but wearing a sports mouthguard can help prevent them.

High-Risk Sports for Dental Injuries

It’s possible to injure your teeth while playing any sport, but some are much more dangerous than others. The sports that carry the highest risk of dental injuries are basketball, boxing, football, hockey and martial arts. These sports are risky because they’re contact sports. If you are tripped, tackled or elbowed by another player, you could end up with dental injuries.

However, non-contact sports can also lead to dental injuries. In non-contact team sports such as soccer or baseball, an accidental blow from a ball or another player could lead to serious dental injuries. In solo sports such as cycling, running or in-line skating, dental injuries can occur as a result of a fall. To be safe, sports mouthguards should be worn for all sporting activities, even the ones that carry a lower risk.

Types of Sports-Related Dental Injuries

A variety of painful dental injuries can occur as a result of playing sports, but the most common injuries are tooth fractures and partially or fully-dislodged teeth, according to Sports Health. Tooth fractures occur when a part of the tooth cracks or breaks off. In severe cases, the fracture can extend through the entire tooth, which can lead to a lot of pain and bleeding. Partially-dislodged teeth are loosened, but not completely knocked out, while fully-dislodged teeth are completely knocked out of the mouth. If you do take a hit to the mouth while playing sports, a mouthguard will absorb some of the impact, which helps to protect your teeth.

Types of Sports Mouthguards

There are three types of sports mouthguards, and each offers a different degree of protection.

Stock Mouthguards

Stock mouthguards are preformed and ready to wear, but this means that they usually don’t fit very well, explains the American Dental Association (ADA). Poor fit means that your teeth aren’t protected as effectively, and these bulky mouthguards can make breathing difficult.

Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are the next step up from stock mouthguards. You can customize these mouthguards by boiling the mouthguard to soften it and then biting down on it. Since they’re customized, they may fit better than stock mouthguards, and as a result, they may protect your teeth more effectively.

Custom-Made Mouthguards

Custom-made mouthguards offer the best protection. These mouthguards are custom-made by your dentist, so they offer excellent fit, comfort and protection. However, since these mouthguards are custom-made, they’re the most expensive. For people who can’t afford custom-made mouthguards, the ADA recommends wearing either a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard.

How to Promote Mouthguard Use

Sports-related dental injuries can lead to pain, stress and lost work days, but you can reduce their impact on your employees and your business by promoting the use of sports mouthguards with your colleagues. If your company organizes a corporate sports team or offers sporting activity days, make mouthguards mandatory for those participating. You can also distribute a newsletter that emphasizes the importance of sports mouthguards or share information about the benefits of mouthguards during a meeting.

Playing sports helps keep your employees healthy, but it can lead to painful dental injuries, which can negatively impact the productivity of your workforce. Promote mouthguard use among your employees to help them protect their teeth and avoid the pain, dental work and missed days that come with sports-related dental injuries.

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