Why Athletes Should Wear Mouthguards: One Player's Story
There were only three minutes left in the college basketball game when Lindsey Botts collided with another player. Lindsey wasn't wearing a mouthguard and her teeth struck the other player's head, sending both women to the floor in agony. Lindsey's mouth was bleeding heavily and three of her top teeth were loose. All those years of braces, and now her beautiful, straight smile was ruined.
"You never think it’s going to happen to you," Lindsey said, even though she had close friends who lost teeth while playing sports.
In many states, college basketball players are not required to wear mouthguards. Some players don't like them because the boil-and-bite varieties available at sporting goods stores are uncomfortable and hinder their ability to talk to their teammates. The same is true for the unfitted, inexpensive models often handed out in the states that do have a mouthguard requirement. Lindsey was required to wear a mouthguard in high school, but said she and her teammates would often just tuck them into their cheeks during play.
Here's what they didn't know: Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer an injury to the mouth when they are not wearing a mouthguard, according to the American Dental Association. Mouthguards help spread the force of a blow over a larger area, which dilutes the impact. Well-made mouthguards may also reduce the rate and severity of concussions, the ADA says.
Lindsay needed three root canals and is now facing extensive restoration work. However, it could have been worse. She could have needed to have the teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants. Just 20 years old, that was a scenario she didn't even want to think about.
Now she's an advocate for custom mouthguards, and is getting a FIERCE™ Mouthguard so she can play basketball again. While custom mouthguards are more expensive than the store-bought variety, they can easily pay for themselves if they prevent the need for emergency and restorative dental work. Not convinced? Just ask Lindsey Botts. She'll tell you.
Written by: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed by: Cindy Roark, DMD