Steph Curry is arguably one of the NBA’s best players, but his mouthguard made him famous because he flips it around in his mouth and chews on the end of the plastic device when he shoots free throws. So how much good is it doing?
Sadly, players like Curry give mouthguards a bad rap because they don’t use them appropriately. Chewing on them destroys their integrity, and constantly touching them introduces harmful bacteria into the mouth.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t vital and effective when used properly. The oral health specialists at OK Tooth in Midtown Manhattan, New York, are big fans of mouthguards for many reasons.
Why athletes should wear mouthguards
You can go to any drugstore and buy a mouthguard; the one-size-fits-all options are cheap and convenient, but you get what you pay for. The better option is to visit OK Tooth so we can fit you for a custom mouthguard that conforms to your mouth’s unique contours. It’s more comfortable, durable, and effective.
If you’re not convinced that you need a mouthguard for sports, consider these benefits.
Prevents bone fractures
Contact sports — and some noncontact sports — involve collisions that jar your head and impact your mouth. This happens not only in the obvious sports like boxing, rugby, wrestling, and football, but also in any sport where elbows jut out, equipment flies, and falling on your face is possible.
A custom mouthguard absorbs the shock and saves your jawbone from fracturing under the impact.
Saves your teeth
Mouth-related injuries are common in athletics, and your teeth often take the brunt of an errant ball or an opponent’s body part. The force can knock your teeth out of alignment or out of your mouth, but a mouthguard can save them.
Helps prevent concussions
Wearing a helmet protects your noggin from hard hits, but that’s not the only piece of equipment that helps. By absorbing shock, a custom mouthguard redistributes the impact of the force and limits your jaw movement, reducing the impact on your brain and helping to prevent a concussion.
Protects your soft tissue
Practice and training prepare your body to handle extreme feats, but there’s not much you can do to protect your lips, tongue, and gums when a ball hits your face. When sports get rough, a mouthguard provides a layer of protection between your mouth and your opponents, preventing split lips, bitten tongues, and gashed gums.
Wards off damage to tooth roots
When your mouth takes a blow, your teeth can shift and injure the roots below. In some cases, the damage can cause blood flow problems, leading to tissue death. Your custom mouthguard prevents your teeth from moving and saves their roots.
Why nonathletes should wear mouthguards
You don’t have to play sports to benefit from a mouthguard. Our OK Tooth team designs custom mouthguards for people from all walks of life. Here’s why you might need a mouthguard.
Bruxism is the official term for teeth grinding. If you clench and grind your teeth, you’re at risk for cracks, fractures, and tooth decay.
Our custom mouthguards absorb the pressure when you grind your teeth and relax your jaw so you stop grinding. You can wear it at night or during the day, depending on when you grind your teeth.
Stops tooth damage
In addition to halting bruxism, a mouthguard staves off the tooth damage bruxism causes, such as:
- Worn-down enamel
- Jaw pain
- Flattened teeth
Untreated bruxism causes severe tooth damage that requires restorative measures like dental crowns and root canals, but a mouthguard can prevent those problems.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge-like joint that connects your jaw to your skull, and when it becomes misaligned, you feel pain and stiffness and may have trouble chewing and talking. Persistent problems in this joint constitute a condition called TMJ disorder; in some cases, it can even cause your jaw to lock up.
A mouthguard eases the tension in your jaw and protects your joint and muscles from overworking and slipping out of alignment.
Eliminates chronic headaches
Headaches are complex conditions that stem from various sources — they’re also common among folks with bruxism and TMJ disorder. A mouthguard may resolve chronic headaches or migraine attacks by absorbing shock and easing muscle tension.
To get a custom-fitted mouthguard, request an appointment online or call our friendly OK Tooth team at 212-574-4650 to talk with our specialists.