For those who take part in contact sports where regular impacts are part of the expectation, few items are more important than a quality mouthguard. The mouthguard protects the wearer from numerous risks associated with impact, from damage to the teeth or jaw to issues of biting the tongue and more.
For many who participate in contact sports, the use of a custom mouthguard fitted specifically to their mouth is the best route to take. What defines a contact sport (and other similar terminology), and what are the key reasons why a quality mouthguard is important for those who participate in them? Here’s a general primer.
Contact Sports Vs Impact Sports
While the definitions of terms like these will vary somewhat depending on who you talk to, here’s a general rundown: Contact sports refer to those where regular contact is expected and within the rules in the sport; impact sports, on the other hand, refer to those where major impact is within the rules.
For instance, basketball is a great example of a contact sport. Players will regularly make contact with one another, and often times collisions are decisive in the outcome of a play – but dealing with it is expected.
For many, however, sports like football, MMA and other forms of fighting are considered impact sports. Specific impacts, including possibly to the head and mouth area, are expected.
The general rule for this distinction is that if contact or major impact are considered elements of the game, then it’s probably an impact sport. If there are rules in play against contact, then it tends to be a contact sport.
Benefits of Mouthguards for Contact and Impact Sports
Both for contact and impact sports, wearing a mouthguard during activity is a major priority for safety. Here are some of the ways it benefits participants:
- Tooth and jaw protection: A mouthguard typically consists of a layer of high-impact shock absorptive material, with the wearer’s teeth set within this. This material provides protection from impact trauma to the jaw and teeth, which can be very painful and perhaps even break a tooth.
- Injuries to the tongue: In addition, a mouthguard helps protect the wearer from something that is almost inevitable in all contact sports – biting one’s own tongue. This is often an issue during collisions with other players or objects, but can happen for other reasons as well.
- Helps make breathing easier: A mouthguard is designed to slightly open up the wearer’s airway, thus making breathing a bit easier during rigorous activity. This is especially important when things get heated and players are panting heavily or even gasping for breath.
- Protects from contact sports-related concussion risks: Mouthguards also play a role in reducing the risk of concussion, due to their ability to absorb some impact. This is different from a helmet or padding in that it helps with preventing small impacts from leading to larger ones down the road. For high-contact sports on a professional level, a mouthguard can help a player avoid additional injury after an initial blow simply by absorbing some of the shock.
Themes for Purchasing a Mouthguard
If you’re purchasing a mouthguard for any contact or impact sport, here are some elements to consider:
- Customization: For those who take part in contact sports, a custom mouthguard is usually the best option. A custom mouthguard can be crafted using an impression provided by the wearer and features their teeth precisely. This gives it the closest fit possible to your mouth, ensuring it’s both comfortable and protective.
- Breathing and fit: If you’re looking for a high-quality mouthguard, look for models where breathing is an important consideration. After all, what good is it if it’s too bulky or otherwise makes it difficult to breathe? Make sure the product you choose has been designed with quality airflow in mind.
- General comfort: Also, general comfort is an important consideration. Look for a mouthguard that is well-designed and easy to wear, with optimal protection being an added bonus rather than the primary selling point.
If you regularly take part in contact or impact sports, follow these mouthguard recommendations to ensure you’re protected.