By Dr. Dennis Lucas –
Being an avid cyclist, Bike Safety is the first think that comes to my mind, but there is so much more.
Each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. National Safety Month is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. They cover broad subjects like Safety at Work, Safety at Home and Safety on the Road.
There are many ways that we protect ourselves during the course of the day: we wear seatbelts, bike helmets, use caution when operating power tools, pay attention to kitchen safety … sometimes we even wear aprons to protect our clothes!
But what about our smiles? How much attention do we pay to protecting our teeth?
Living in Southwest Florida, we have the opportunity to enjoy our favorite activities just about year round. Naples was just ranked No. 2 “Happiest U.S. Seaside Town” by the national magazine Coastal Living. We do live in paradise – the beaches, the arts, and entertainment choices, all contribute to our active lifestyles. Collier County is amongst the healthiest in the state. We bicycle, rollerblade, play racquetball just to name a few… there is no stopping us!
But I ask again, what precautions do we take to protect our smiles? The older we get, the easier it is to have an accident doing the simplest of activities.
According to the American Dental Association more than 200,000 oral injuries are prevented annually in this country by sports mouth guards. While this is an impressive preventative figure, it is estimated that more than 5 million teeth will be knocked out in sports activities this year.
The American Dental Association recommends the use of custom mouth guards in multiple sports and exercise activities, 29 to be exact.
Mouth guards should be worn by everyone – both children and adults – while playing contact sports. However, even those participating in noncontact sports, and enjoying recreational activity that may pose a risk of injury to the mouth, would benefit form wearing a protective mouth guard.
Mouth guards are designed to absorb and distribute the forces of impact received while participating in athletic activities.
How mouth guards help to protect our mouths Lacerations
A properly fitted mouth guard helps to protect the soft tissues of the lips, cheeks, gums and tongue by covering the sharp surfaces of the teeth. Let’s all remember that even our president had an injury that requires 12 stitches while playing basketball …he was not wearing a mouth guard!
Causes possible damage to the soft tissue of the lips, cheeks, tongue and gums, as well as the teeth and upper jaw.
Direct Jaw Impact & Under Chin Impact Causes possible damage to the teeth, TMJ and jaw.
Properly fitted mouth guards reduce the force upon impact helping to protect the jaws from fracture.
TMJ (Jaw Joint) Trauma
Properly fitted mouth guards reduce the potential for jaw joint fracture and displacement by cushioning against the impact.
Because accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped and broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss. In other words, they protect our smiles!
Custom dental mouth guards are made by a dental professional with the athlete’s individual needs taken into account. They are available in six levels of protection, and dozens of colors and designs, or you can create a custom design. Appointments are fast and easy, and your mouth guard will be ready in one week.
So go out there and do all the things that you love to do here in paradise… bike, rollerblade, racquet ball, whatever it is and remember to protect your smile with a custom mouth guard.
They are not just for kids; they are for the kid in us!
Dennis Lucas D.M.D
1000 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 302
Naples, Florida 34102