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Do You Have Your Custom Mouth Guard Yet?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Spring has sprung and that means we are back outdoors and back into sports seasons including baseball, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer and more.

As we head back outdoors – and even for indoor sports – it’s time to consider getting a custom-fit mouth guard.

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Did you know that the great majority of high school athletes – about 3 out of 4 – dental injuries that happen during sports occur in people who aren’t wearing a mouth guard? (Source.) Just think if those athletes had been wearing a protective mouth guard! You can see why some states are now mandating athletes in high school wear mouth guards. 

A Small Habit That Helps Us Avoid Major Damage

Athletic mouth guards absorb shock that you can get while playing sports, whether it be an elbow to the face, a ball, or because of an accidental collision. That means, if we are wearing a mouth guard, that the shock your teeth and jaw would normally receive is less damaging to the mouth.

Wearing a mouth guard can save your teeth – both teeth loss and cracks, prevent major damage to your jaw and face, and it’s an easy habit once you start doing it. If kids are still resistant to the idea, be sure to let them know that these injuries will sideline them for quite some time. In other words, wearing a properly fitting mouth guard can help them stay out on the field!

For many sports – not just contact sports – we also see that mouth guards protect us against the following:

  • Dental fractures
  • Lacerations of lips, tongue, and cheeks
  • Avulsions
  • Luxations (joint dislocation, in this case, the jaw)
  • Concussions

The benefit of a mouth guard we make you is that it will fit just right (you don’t want it to be too loose, and it CAN be comfortable!), it will still allow you to speak, and perhaps most importantly, you will be able to breathe properly.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Mason Plumlee, Matthew Dellavedova, Amir Johnson, Blake Griffin, Cole Aldrich, Rajon Rondo, Alan Anderson, and even Stephen Curry – who has a habit of playing with his mouth guard at times – are just a few pro athletes who regularly wear their mouth guards.

LeBron James is another advocate of wearing a mouth guards. He’s even worn a mouth guard habitually since high school. In fact, these pro athletes think of mouth guards as just another part of their uniform.

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I’m Convinced. So How Do I Care for My Mouth Guard?

Now that you’re convinced you want to wear a mouth guard to protect your soft tissue, tongue, mouth, jaw and lips – the question is, how do I take care of my custom mouth guard?

First, when you wear your mouth guard made at Hagen Dental, be sure not to just wear it during games or competitions – you want to get into the habit of wearing it all the time, even at practice. That’s because injuries to the face, mouth and jaw are just as likely to happen in a game as at practice or during “unorganized” sports activities. By wearing it all times, you’re protecting your mouth as much as you can.

You will also want to check it at least once a year to make sure it still fits properly. Next, when storing it, be sure to clean it as much as possible – meaning after every use – and keep it away from heat. Yes, that means throwing it in your sports bag and letting it sit in the summer heat in your car is not a great idea!

lawrence hagen custom mouth guards

Good Dental Hygiene Habits Include Wearing a Custom Mouth Guard

If you have specific questions about how your mouth guard will work with your retainer or braces, let us know. Ready to get your custom-made mouth guard? Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit for you or your children!

What Effect Does Rigorous Exercise Have on My Teeth?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Rigorous exercise may affect our teeth and mouth in ways that we would not expect.

study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013, examined 278 athletes during the 2012 Summer Olympics, and found that most of them actually had very high levels of tooth decay and gum disease.

hagen dental cincinnati dentist“Higher risk for dental erosions, exercise-dependent caries risk, and load-dependent changes in saliva parameters point out the need for risk-adapted preventive dental concepts in the field of sports dentistry,” reported the study.
But what about studies that looked at people who all had a higher degree of access to quality dental care, which some in the Olympic study did not have?

For this kind of information, we turn to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that elite athletes often use “training strategies that coincide with risk factors for dental caries and erosion.” (Source.)

Just what were those habits that were looked at?

The study, which was aimed at identifying specific risk factors for dental caries in elite triathletes, looked at nutrition, to start.

Researchers found that nearly 84 percent of these endurance athletes consumed sports drinks when they trained.

About half of them took small sips, often from a bottle, meaning often the teeth had prolonged exposure to sugar, which feeds bacteria of the mouth. Although that was only part of the story, the study also showed how this kind of nutrition contributed to some of the athletes’ mouth’s having a pH below 5.5. Having that “off balance” pH level in the mouth can contribute to erosion and caries.

Another recent study included 35 triathletes and 35 non-exercising controls. This study found that athletes had an increased risk for dental erosion, but not caries—although their risk for caries also increased as training time each week increased.

In other words, in this research, the more they trained, the higher risk they had for caries.

Keep in mind that these “extreme” athletes, such as triathletes, are exercising for an average of 9 hours per week. It is less of a surprise, then, that there was a high degree of carbohydrate consumption in these athletes, including sports drinks, gels, and bars.

Many people also tend to breathe heavily through their mouth during exercise. Mouth breathing reduces the flow of saliva and dries out your mouth. This too allows bacteria to thrive—so you can see why for people who train for multiple hours per day, this could affect their dental health.

Based on such findings, it would seem like a smart idea to brush your teeth after prolonged exercise such as cycling, swimming and/or running, especially if you had carbohydrate-rich snacks during the prolonged training period. But it also begs the question: does exercise really do the body—or our teeth/mouth—good?

The answer is yes, it does do the body good! And this research should not suggest that we cut back on our exercise or training regimens.

Just because these studies suggest you are at a heightened risk for dental erosion as an endurance athlete, it does not mean that this risk outweighs the benefits received from these activities. In fact, research has shown time and time again that exercise is the single best preventive measure for many diseases! That should not be forgotten.

Instead of worrying about the potential uptick in risk, we need to make sure our daily habits work to undo any saliva- or nutrition-related issues due to prolonged, intense training regimens.

Be sure to be intentional and consistent with your dental health, just as you would be about your training.

As researchers also pointed out, exercise alone might not be the factor that is affecting the oral health of these participants, as the number of people in the studies was notably low.

What you can do as an endurance athlete to help prevent tooth decay:

  • Talk to your Dentist about your rigorous training schedule when you go in for your regular visits.
  • Floss your teeth in the morning and at night.
  • Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated—which most athletes actually do! Also remember that staying hydrated does not guarantee any kind of change of pH in the mouth.
  • Examine the sugar content in your favorite training snacks to make sure you are aware of how much sugar you are consuming.
  • Continue to brush your teeth each day, but know that citric acids in sports drinks or gels will soften your tooth enamel, so in some cases, it is not ideal to brush your teeth directly after consuming.

Have questions on anything you are reading? Let us know; after all, this blog is general advice that is not specific to any one person. Find more www.hagendds.com

References

http://www.mensfitness.com/life/intense-exercise-could-be-bad-your-teeth#sthash.IkyPbMO3.dpuf

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/12/27/proper-exercise-breathing.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=frese+dental+erosion