If you’re questioning “why do I need a mouth guard,” you clearly haven’t been watching enough hockey. Virtually every long-term player in the sport has lost teeth when playing hockey; it is a rite of passage for many players.
And many of these mishaps happen when players are younger.
Mouth guards attempt to protect your teeth, and these guards work very well as a protectant. In fact, they’re required of every hockey player in the NHL. Coaches have a saying when it comes to mouth guards:
- “You can’t play with them, and you can’t play without them.”
You need to play hockey with them, but you don’t want to play with them in your mouth when on the ice. One wrong hit while you’re playing with your mouth guard will leave you susceptible to injury – not good.
What Mouth Guards Offer in Terms of Protection
On the outside, mouth guards are seen as annoying and unnecessary by new players. And there is no denying that they can be irritating while playing. Most of this issue comes from the type of mouth guard you choose (more on that soon), but it is also very important to know what type of protection these mouth guards offer to players of all sports.
Mouth guards protect against:
- Tooth loss
- Lacerations to the lips, mouth and tongue
- Jaw fracture
Players have been hit and had to receive several stitches even while wearing a mouth guard. If these players weren’t wearing a mouth guard, the severity of injuries could have been made much worse as a result.
Even fractures of the teeth are prevented thanks to mouth guards.
If you are a hockey player in the United States, it’s important to know that all players under the age of 19 must wear their mouth guard. The NHL has their own mouth guard rules in place.
In the event that you’re caught without a mouth guard, you can receive a penalty, causing your team to be down a player.
Choosing a Mouth Guard
Professional players will work with a dentist to create a custom mouth guard for play. These guards are far superior to what most players will wear because they allow for:
- An easier time talking, which is essential in any sport
- An easier time breathing
- Ideal comfort
- A proper fit that doesn’t slide or fall out
When choosing a mouth guard, a custom fit option is always best. If this option is outside of your price range, you can choose a “boil and bite” option. These mouth guards literally have a person boil them and bite into them so that they mold to the wearer’s teeth. It’s an inexpensive method that works great.
Ready-made guards are the cheapest, but they’re also the least comfortable. When the item is ready-made, it won’t fit your bite properly and may fall out of the mouth during play. You’ll also suffer from a harder time breathing or communicating, which isn’t an ideal situation.
If you play any contact sport, a mouth guard is a must-have.