Are you feeling lucky? Do you think you can fill out a perfect March Madness bracket? The odds are 1 in 9 quintillion. March Madness is known for last second game winners and unexpected wins. Games will have your heart beating quickly and have you on your feet to see what’ll happen next.
We all know about the thrillers and defeat that takes place during the tournament. But what we don’t know is what happens behind the scenes. Some injuries are kept quiet; such as dental injuries. If a player were to go down with a torn ACL, ruptured Achilles, or sprained ankle it’s well broadcasted. The University of California conducted a study about dental injuries in sports and found that basketball players suffered the highest amount of dental damage compared to all other intercollegiate sports.
Believe it or not, basketball is considered a ‘non-contact’ sport. Mouth guards are only required in contact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing. The American Dental Association says that 1/3 of dental injuries are because of sports. The three most common types of tooth injuries are: cracked teeth, fractured roots, and tooth intrusions.
While playing basketball it is common to catch an unexpected elbow to your face and mouth. this can cause you to chip or lose teeth. During games, it’s important to communicate with your teammates which can be challenging while wearing a mouth guard. This is a possible reason why a mouth guard isn’t popular for basketball players. The University of California study also reveals that only 7% of collegiate basketball players use a mouth guard.
Basketball has a variety of protective gear for players. There are high top shoes to help support your ankle along with ankle braces. There are also padded compression shorts and shirts that are worn under your jersey to protect your body from any unpredictable falls. In a way, padded compression clothing is similar to a mouth guard. Both protect your body from experiencing the full force of a hit helping prevent greater injuries which can be expensive and time consuming to heal.
There are three different types of mouth guards: custom-made, Boil and Bite, and stock. A custom-made mouth guard is seen as the most comfortable and offers the best protection. They need to be manufactured by your dentist or in a specialized lab. Most athletes prefer to have a custom fit one but one downside is they can be a pricey investment. You can think of the Boil and Bite as DIY custom fit mouth guards. The plastic pre-formed shape can be found in sporting stores. You simply boil it then bite into it for a custom fit. Stock mouth guards are the most inexpensive but don’t fit well and aren’t very comfortable. They can be bulky making breathing and talking a challenge.
The loss of a tooth or multiple teeth is not the only thing at risk for basketball players. Tooth loss can also cause bone damage to your jaw and tissues and rip your gum or lip. These injuries often lead to implants or root canals.
Over the years, wearing mouth guards have gained popularity throughout the sport. Top NBA stars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are known to wear mouth guards while playing. Did you know they have flavored mouth guards for better a better taste?
Injuries are unpredictable but the best way to protect yourself is by taking precautions. As we now know the importance of wearing mouth guards lets share our knowledge. Hopefully, we will begin to see more star athletes and players wearing them. Change always starts small! So we encourage you and your family to play with your health in mind!
It’s going to be a heart-wrenching month of basketball. Here’s to our teams conquering the title or to us for that 1 in 9 quintillion!
Dr. Steve Lim
105 N Bascom Ave., Suite 201
San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: (408) 292-2848