Why Do Hockey Players Still Lose Teeth Despite Wearing Mouth Guard – BlackSportsOnline
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Why Do Hockey Players Still Lose Teeth Despite Wearing Mouth Guard

With all of the negative attention that hockey players receive regarding damage to their teeth, it is no wonder that mouth guards have become a piece of standard equipment. Yet, even when wearing a mouth guard, it seems that a lot of players still suffer from tooth loss.

We wondered how players would still be losing teeth, so we asked local Richmond dentist Sheena Sood how that was possible. This is what we found out.

Wearing the Guard

The first concern when it comes to tooth loss in hockey is if the player is actually wearing the mouth guard. They do make it more uncomfortable to breathe and especially if the guard is attached to a face mask, they can be easily spat out. If the guard isn’t in at the time of impact, your teeth are not protected.

Not Wearing the Guard Correctly

Another consideration is whether the guard was in the mouth correctly. It should have a snug fit all across the upper arch. If the guard is not fully on or put on straight, it will not help you if you sustain a hit to the mouth.

Receiving Big Hits

Yet, even if the mouth guard is placed correctly, there is still a chance of dental injury in hockey. This is because a heavy hit can have around 5,000 Newtons of force and it only takes 3,000 Newtons to put you at risk of dental loss. If the hit is big enough, a mouth guard may not be able to fully protect your teeth.

You Don’t See it coming

Hockey moves quickly. Sometimes you cannot brace yourself for a hit or move out of the way in time. In this case, you can receive a puck or elbow to the mouth, putting you at a high risk of dental injury regardless of whether you are wearing a mouth guard. We asked the pros at Hockey Homie what the force of a hockey puck was and they told us that pucks can easily reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Not even a secure mouth guard can offer you 100 percent protection from something of that level of speed.

Why Mouth Guards are still important

While they are not 100 percent effective, having a mouth guard is still going to protect you from many dental injuries that you would have otherwise sustained. A mouth guard is especially helpful with high sticking injuries. Without a mouth guard, you are certain to lose teeth if you get a stick to the mouth, but with a mouth guard, it is highly unlikely. Someone would have to go out of their way to hit you in the mouth at that point for the guard to not work.

Most of the time, when you are hit in the mouth in hockey it is not an intentional hit, but a hit from something else. This type of impact the mouth guard can brace for, helping your teeth stay put where they are supposed to be.

You should also know that mouth guards are used for more than your teeth. They also help keep your jaw in place to help prevent concussions. Having your jaw set prevents the jarring that results in a concussion.

Ultimately, there is no good reason not to wear your mouth guard when you play hockey. Remember your teeth do not grow back and you do not want to lose them unnecessarily. Just wear all of your protective gear and keep yourself safe before you let loose to have fun.