Preventing Tooth and Mouth Injuries

Preventing Tooth and Mouth Injuries

Your teeth are important for everything from eating and nutrition to proper speech, so an injury to your teeth can have much larger implications than just affecting your beautiful smile. When engaging in certain kinds of physical activity, your mouth is potentially at risk for injury causing knocked-out teeth and injuries to the gums, lips, tongue, and surrounding tissues. Make sure you are always careful and take preventative measures to ensure you teeth and mouth stay healthy and injury-free.

Situations Where Tooth and Mouth Injuries Are Common

Most of your daily activities won’t put you at risk for tooth injury, but in the following situations you will want to have a mouth guard or take other precautions to prevent injury.

  • Babies and toddlers who are learning to walk will stumble and fall a lot. It is important to keep an eye on them to make sure they are careful, and if they are in this early stumbling phase, don’t let them practice on a hard surface like concrete or asphalt.
  • Sports injuries are a common reason for a visit to a dentist. Anyone who plays contact sports, such as boxing, football, basketball, soccer, or lacrosse needs to always wear a mouth guard. Even heavy physical exertion offers an opportunity to fall down and chip a tooth, so while it may not require a mouth guard, be sure to take care and watch your step!
  • Some people experience tooth pain when they wake up after sleeping for the night. If you are one of these, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. A visit to a doctor or dentist will reveal if your tooth damage is the result of grinding and your dentist can help you decide if wearing a mouth guard when you sleep is the best option.

You don’t have to avoid risky situations to avoid mouth injury. Just make sure to take the appropriate precautions before you go at it.

How Athletes Can Keep Teeth Safe

Everyone should practice good dental hygiene, but athletes face a very unique risk. Depending on the exact sport you play, your jaw or face may be at risk of experiencing injury where your teeth could break or become dislodged entirely, so there are specific practices that should be followed so that you can hang onto all your teeth for much longer.


A mouthguard can do a lot of good if you participate in a contact sport like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or hockey. High school and college athletes should wear one of these at all times, including during both practices and actual games, since injuries can occur at anytime. Not only will tooth loss or damage cause pain, but it also costs a lot of money to replace your missing tooth with a crown or bridge.

Keep in mind that there are different types of mouthguards and the right one for you can vary depending on your sport and activity levels. You can likely go to any sporting goods store and find some standard mouthguards, but these are not going to be the best type of protection. Generic guards offer minimal protection, so you should instead get a mouthguard that is specifically designed to fit over your teeth. These can be obtained from most dental professionals.

What Happens When You Don’t Wear a Mouthguard?

Without a mouthguard, your teeth could easily get chipped, cracked, broken, or knocked out, which means you could pay thousands of dollars in replacement costs. Not only is there the financial weight of losing a tooth, but you will also need to spend hours in a dentist’s office and recovering from the procedure (which likely means missing some time out on the field). Thousands of injuries are prevented every year thanks to the use of mouthguards, so you should definitely wear one yourself.

Anyone who plays basketball, volleyball, rugby, soccer or other intense sports should always utilize a specialized faceguard. You would not play sports without a helmet, knee pads or other protective gear, and a mouthguard should be viewed the same way.