Health & Safety

July 13, 2012

Protect your smile with athletic mouthguards during play

by Col. Jeff Chaffin, D.D.S.
TRICARE Dental Care Branch, chief

If you or your child participates in sports or other recreational activities, you know the importance of protective gear. Wearing protective gear is essential for safe play and shielding fragile body parts from severe damage and injuries.

One good way to protect your teeth is by wearing an athletic mouthguard during any activity that could cause harm or injury to your mouth. The TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) covers enrollees for one custom fitted athletic mouthguard at a 50 percent cost-share, per consecutive 12-month period.

Athletic mouthguards help to prevent broken and chipped teeth, cuts inside the mouth and tongue, even nerve damage and tooth loss possible during some activities. Using an athletic mouthguard may also reduce the rate and severity of concussions, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Athletic mouthguards absorb some of the shock experienced from a blow to the head and help to distribute it evenly.

According to the ADA an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer injury to their teeth or mouth when not wearing an athletic mouthguard. Even in non-contact sports like gymnastics and biking, athletic mouthguards are shown to help prevent injuries.

There are several types of athletic mouthguards available. Many stores sell pre-formed and “boil and bite” mouthguards that are not covered by the TDP. These are generally less expensive options than having your dentist custom-fit a piece for you, however they will most likely not fit as well and may be uncomfortable to wear.

Your athletic mouthguard should fit comfortably and not restrict your breathing or speech. It should be easy to clean and made of a resilient, tear-resistant material. Visit your TDP-participating dentist and talk about the best option for you and your children.

Athletic mouthguards are easy to care for and should be taken care of properly. Make sure you clean your mouthguard after each use, either by brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste or by washing with cool, soapy water and rinsing with clean water. You should regularly wash your mouthguard with soap and water and carry it in a sturdy, well vented container. Don’t leave the piece in the sun because extreme heat can affect the shape and fit of your mouthpiece. Finally, take your mouthguard to each dentist appointment so that your dentist can check for proper fit and damage or wear. Your dentist can answer any questions you might have about use or care.

Visit www.TRICAREdentalprogram.com for more information on mouthguards, cost-shares, other benefits, and to find a TDP participating dentist near you.

 
Tip of the Month

When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? According to the American Dental Association, you should replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t clean your teeth properly. Your new toothbrush’s shape and size should fit your mouth comfortably, allowing you to reach all areas of your mouth easily.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher

Air Force JROTC cadets graduate Summer Leadership School

U.S. Air Force photo/Megan Crusher Air Force JROTC cadets from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley and Arlington High School in Riverside, graduate from a two week Summer Leadership School, held at March Air Reserve Base,...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan

Airmen attend second annual Norton-March reunion

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan Senior Master Sgt. Paul Mitt, detachment chief, 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, answers questions about the MQ-9 Reaper at March Air Reserve Base on June 20. Members of the Nort...
 
 
Halle-Berry

Halle Berry Connects With the U.S. Military

Halle Berry stars in the Science-Fiction show “Extant,” which just began its second season. Finding out someone values and appreciates what you do can keep you floating at cloud level for weeks, especially when the someone ...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Charles “Chuck” Flood, Satellite Services, Inc., passed away unexpectedly, June 17, 2015

Courtesy photo Chuck Flood: March 16, 1963 – June 17, 2015 Flood had been employed by SSI since February, 2005. He had been the fire truck mechanic, responsible for over 15 fire fighting vehicles at Edwards Air Force Base and...
 
 
Watchara Phomicinda — LA Daily News staff  photographer

March honor guard gives final honors to America’s veterans

(Final in a two-part series on honor guard, reprinted with permission) Watchara Phomicinda — LA Daily News staff photographer Brittarose Morgan, 77, right, wife of the late Airman First Class Roland Morgan with daughter, Kym ...
 
 
HBI-photo

Fitness at a glance – It’s all about timing!

Ever notice how your anxiety tends to increase around your fitness assessment time (FA)? It is amazing that in 20 minutes (or less) your FA is over, but your anxiety level has cumulatively increased over the 30-90 days (or more...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>