The Hockey Doc: The importance of mouth guards By Dr. Rob LaPrade
Question: I just received a penalty for not having a mouth guard. Why do I need to wear one?
Answer: I think you know part of the answer to this one already. While the obvious answer to using a mouth guard is that it protects your teeth from being chipped or knocked out, a mouth guard is also a very important safety device to prevent injuries.
The main purpose of a mouth guard is clear. It is there to protect your teeth from possible direct blows where they can either be chipped, significantly fractured, or knocked out. While serving a purpose in this regard, they also help to prevent some of the bad lip and cheek lacerations which can happen when a tooth is broken.
The other purpose of a mouth guard is to act as a shock absorber in your mouth. It serves as a spacer between the top and bottom row of your teeth and absorbs shock should you receive a blow to your jaw. You can imagine that if you have a significant blow to your chin that this force is going to go from your chin up through your jaw bone, into your teeth. In this regard, a mouth guard helps to decrease jaw bone (mandible) fractures.
I hope this answers your question and that you choose to wear a mouth guard in all ice hockey related activities in the future. Wearing a mouth guard, and the rules which enforce it, are sort of like the rules for having seatbelts in cars. The mouth guard serves as a seatbelt to protect your teeth & jaw bone.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2012 10:25