Sports and Your Teeth

Ask anyone outside Canada what our national sport is, and they’ll almost definitely answer that it’s hockey. That’s actually true; apocryphal stories will tell you that our national sport is lacrosse, which is also true. We have two national sports: hockey is our national winter sport, and lacrosse is our national summer sport. What do these sports have in common? They’re fast-paced, they’re aggressive, and they can result in major damage to your mouth.

For a visceral example of what I’m talking about, check out the Globe and Mail article “A sport with teeth”. In the article, you’ll learn about how a puck to the face doesn’t just knock teeth out; it can crush bone, disfigure the jaw, and cause serious, painful damage. Obviously, we’re not trying to discourage anyone from playing sports; the risk of injury is certainly there, but the valuable experiences you can glean from team sports are hard to replicate anywhere else. Sports are incredibly fun, too. All we want is for you to be cautious when you’re playing.

As we’ve learned more about the terrible consequences a high-force impact can have on the human body, we’ve started adopting more technology to reduce injury. Professional and amateur ice hockey teams pretty well universally have rules stating that you have to wear a helmet; it’s obvious that you don’t want a brain injury. Mouthguards, however, remain very underused in the sporting world, and that’s a problem; they’re the best protection we have for your teeth. Mouthguards won’t stop every possible injury, but they do seriously reduce the risk of losing teeth as a result of an impact. The cost-benefit analysis is simple. Mouthguards are worthwhile.

There are three broad categories of sports mouthguards: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom fit. Stock mouthguards are the cheapest option; you buy them and you wear them, whether or not they fit properly. These mouthguards are not our favorite; they can cause you to have difficulty breathing, and they don’t offer as much protection as the other options. Boil-and-bites are still relatively inexpensive, and they mould themselves to the shape of your mouth; that would be our recommendation for a budget option. When it comes to the highest level of comfort and protection, a custom-fitted mouthguard is the way to go; they’re more expensive, but they fit perfectly in your mouth and are made of high quality, durable materials.

The hope is always that your mouthguard will prevent injury, and that your wits will prevent any impact to your mouth at all. Sometimes, however, all the safeguards you put into place can fail; those are the times when you might have a dental emergency. Should you have an accident on the ice, or playing any other sport, you can visit us; we’re an emergency dentist Winnipeg can trust. We’ve got plenty of experience with dental accidents of all kinds, so make your way to us as soon as you have an accident, and we’ll help minimize the damage.