It is important to keep your teeth protected during physical activity because that is the most likely time they will suffer damage. Your teeth aren’t just there for your smile—a complete set of chompers is necessary to eat all the different kinds of foods we enjoy as well. April is National Facial Protection Month, and the American Dental Association is teaming up with the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry to spread awareness about the importance of protecting your mouth in sports and other outdoor activities by using a mouth guard.

Sports Where Mouth and Facial Injuries are Most Likely

Here are a few sports where you commonly see players wearing mouth guards. This important teeth protection should be worn even during practice sessions with these intense physical activities.

  • Boxing: Boxing is a sport where the participants will hit each other in their faces extensively, making it absolutely essential to wear a mouth guard in this sport.
  • Football: Football players wear helmets that provide a firm layer of facial protection. As an added precautionary measure, they are also required to wear mouth guards under the grills of their helmets, preventing the possibility of painful and inconvenient tooth injuries.
  • Martial Arts: The point in martial arts practice where mouth protection becomes necessary is in the sparring ring. Participants will often don padding over sensitive areas of their bodies. In Olympic sparring, the head is an area where a blow will score a point, making the face and mouth vulnerable to accidental injury.

While these are some sports where athletes commonly wear mouthguards, it’s important to note that any time you are playing a contact sport or participating in an activity that could lead to mouth injury, dentists recommend wearing mouth protection. That includes everything from soccer and basketball to riding a bike or skateboard.

Sporting goods stores sell semi-fitted mouth guards that you boil and bite to conform to the shape of your teeth, but  an even better idea is to visit your dentist to get a custom guard made specifically for your mouth. Keeping your bite pristine is an important part of any athletic activity.