Only Protect the Teeth You Want to Keep!

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael Miklosi
  • 374th Medical Group
With the summer season in full swing and start of a new school year quickly approaching, now is the best time of year to get outdoors and play some of your favorite sports. One thing to always keep in mind regardless of the time of year or sport/exercise you are engaged in is safety. One form of safety the 374th Dental Squadron would like to emphasize is protecting your teeth and smile from potential damage.

Some of the most popular sports and exercise routines put people at risk for major oral trauma that could potentially lead to tooth loss. The best way to prevent this would be to wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards buffer damage to the teeth and also act as a barrier between the teeth, cheeks, lips and tongue, which in turn limits the risk of soft tissue damage. Mouth guards also protect against other serious injuries such as jaw fracture, cerebral hemorrhage, concussions and neck injuries by helping to keep the lower jaw from jamming into the upper jaw.

The American Dental Association recommends the use of a mouth guard for 29 sports/exercise activities. These include ice hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, football, acrobatics, basketball, boxing, discus throwing, gymnastics, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling. Simply, whenever there's a chance of contact with other athletes or hard surfaces, wearing a mouth guard is highly recommended.

The good news is that the dental laboratory technicians at the Yokota Dental Clinic have the capability to fabricate fully custom mouth guards in an assortment of different colors. Please contact the dental clinic at 225-8864 to schedule an appointment to have a mouth guard made. Boil and bite mouth guards are also available at the Yokota Dental Clinic front desk and the Fitness Center. Remember, your own personal safety is your own responsibility-protect your smile!