How to Protect Your Teeth When Playing Rough Sports

Sports like hockey, rugby and football are a great way to keep fit and have fun, but they come with serious risks to your teeth. Common injuries include teeth being knocked out, fillings or crowns being displaced, and the jaw being fractured.

To avoid pain and costly treatment, there are a few measures you can take. Wearing the correct protective equipment and making sure it fits perfectly is really important. Prepare for the worst by researching local dental clinics before away games and carrying a dental first aid kit with you at all times.

Wear a mouth guard

It's important to wear a mouth guard during sports like hockey, but don't scrimp on a cheap model. The 'one size fits all' mouth guard that is found in most sports shops won't provide anywhere near the same level of protection as a mouth guard that has been fitted exactly to your teeth. Visit a dentist, who will take a mould of your teeth and create a custom mouth guard that's designed for your use only.

If you're not planning to play sports often, then a 'boil and bite' mouth guard is a good middle-of-the-road option. You'll boil the mouth guard to soften it, then bite down to mould it to your mouth. This is better than a generic mouth guard, but won't be as comfortable or effective as a custom-made appliance.

Research local dental clinics before away games

Finding the number and location of a few local dental clinics ensures that you're prepared before an away game—especially if you're travelling far and staying overnight. Many dental emergencies really need to be treated within a few hours—for example, a knocked out tooth that needs to be re-implanted. If you're playing over several days, then being able to get fast treatment for any dental injuries will ensure you're not out of commission during an important match. Make sure you choose clinics who accept emergency patients.

Carry a dental first aid kit

A dental first aid is really handy if you have any fillings are crowns that could be knocked out during a rough tackle. A special putty in the kit can be rolled into a ball and used as a temporary stop gap for lost fillings or to reattach crowns that have been knocked off but are still intact. Most kits will include a small container for saving teeth that have been knocked out. Place the tooth inside and cover with milk or saliva until you can get to a dentist for treatment.