Play smart, hard; wear a mouth guard prepared by 377th MDG

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary Sanders
  • 377th Medical Group
Have you ever thought about how you would look if you lost one or more of your front teeth?

You would probably avoid smiling and feel uncomfortable talking face-to-face with someone. Pronouncing certain words would certainly be a challenge. Even taking a bite out of an apple would be a new experience. It's easy to take some things for granted until they're suddenly gone.

Each year thousands of people are involved in dental emergencies on playing fields and basketball courts, not to mention skateboarding, biking and other activities. Blunt force trauma to the face can not only injure your teeth, but your lips, cheeks and tongue as well.

A properly fitting mouth guard or sports guard is a vital piece of athletic gear that protects your teeth and smile. Athletic mouth guards are not just limited to contact sports. New research in sports dentistry reveal that even in non-contact sports, such as gymnastics, proves that mouth guards are a great protector of teeth. Many experts recommend that a mouth guard be worn for any recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth.

The most effective mouth guard should have several key features. It should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.

Generally, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth but in some cases a mouth guard for the lower teeth is needed. Your local dentist can suggest the right mouth guard for you.

Don't take your teeth for granted. Be cool. Protect your smile. Wear a mouth guard.

The 377th Dental Squadron strongly encourages all active duty members who participate in sports to wear a mouth guard. If you would like to have a custom made mouth guard, please make an appointment during our Mouth Guard Awareness Week from April 9-13.

There are also Save-A-Tooth kits available for those who have not taken the proper precautions and elected to not wear a mouth guard. The kits are at the reception area at both fitness centers. The Save-A-Tooth kit preserves teeth that have been knocked loose until you can get medical attention from a dentist.

Timing is crucial in this situation however; they are only beneficial within the first hour of injury. If you are an active duty member, contact the base dental clinic immediately. If you are not active duty, call your family dentist as soon as possible. 

For further information, call the 377th Dental Squadron at 846-3027.