Mouthguards are necessary to protect your dental work and your dentist can make one with a snug, custom fit. We all remember the old boil-and-bite mouth guards. A dentist was not involved in that monstrosity. It involved a large ball of roughly formed rubber, a pot of boiling water and perfect timing. In the age of custom made dental mouthguards, the boil-and-bite method seems so…barbaric. We will talk about custom made mouthguards, but first lets take a step back before the boil-and-bite.
It seems like before the likes of Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Deion “Prime Time” Sanders athletes were a rough and tough bunch.
Toothless athletes once graced the covers of SI. Now athletes pose for GQ wearing Calvin Klein underwear. They have reality TV shows and wear the latest runway fashion. They are a brand. AS Jerry Maguire says “Show Me the Money”!
Athletes are a brand and they need to protect their teeth. Toothless wonders don’t get TV deals and product endorsements. While mouthguards have been protecting dental work in contact sports, many “non-contact” athletes are beginning to wear dental mouthguards. Lebron James is famous for always chewing on the mouthguard his dentist made.
So what are the benefits of a mouthguard made by dentists. First, mouth guards keep your teeth from being chipped or knocked out. They cushion the blow from an inadvertent elbow to the face and protect those veneers your dentist just put in. Second, mouthguards protect against soft tissue injuries. Many emergency dental visits are due to soft tissue trauma where a tooth is lodged in the lip or tongue. Third, mouthguards might protect against concussions. When you take a blow to the head and your teeth contact each other, there’s not much room for flexibility. But, if you have a layer of flexible plastic between your teeth, it can lower the force of that blow.
As technology advances we are finding some interesting improvements in athlete performance when a mouthguard is worn. When you clench your teeth as part of our “fight or flight” instinct, you trigger the release of performance-sapping hormones, like cortisol. You also reduce airflow through your throat. Strength, power and speed are all diminished, while lactic acid is increased. This prevents us from performing at our best, just when we need to most.
An article in Compendium, a peer reviewed dental journal evaluate a piece of technology in the Under Armour mouthpiece. The ArmourBite technology creates a slight separation between the lower and upper teeth, while in turn shifting the jaw down and forward. This re-positioning was proven to help reduce cortisol and lactate levels. It is documented that this performance mouth guard will help an athlete improve strength, endurance and reaction time, reduce athletic stress, and with the mouth guard, reduce impact from blows to the jaw. This technology can help athletes in any sport, including football, cross-fit, golf and running.
Dentistry isn’t just about managing the dental care you’ve had completed. As technology improves dentistry is able to improve the quality of life in our overall health. Ask your dentist about a custom fit dental mouthguard and how it can help you achieve peak performance in your chosen sport. “Get a dental mouthguard and shave three strokes off your golf game” may sound like a As-Seen-On-TV gimmick…or it may just be your ticket to a pair of Calvin Klein briefs and a Knoxville Magazine photo shoot.