The Importance of Wearing a Mouth Guard for Weight Lifting
While not so many strength athletes (especially weight lifters) like using mouth guards when training or competing, it turns out these mouthpieces are very valuable for any weightlifter. Although many people think mouth guards are only important in sports that involve a lot of contact involvement such as wrestling, American football, boxing, and martial arts, dental experts think otherwise. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the use of mouth guards for 29 sports which include the ones already mentioned above, plus weightlifting, handball, basketball, acrobatics, among others.
Data from research by the National Youth Sports Foundation shows that strength athletes are sixty times more likely to suffer a tooth (or teeth) damage when they are not wearing protective mouth guards. Weightlifting being among the strength sports, the importance of wearing a protective mouth guard when training or competing cannot be underestimated. Read on to find out more about the benefits of using a mouth guard as a weightlifter and where you can easily shop for one online.
Why exactly would one use a mouth guard for weight lifting?
A recent study by the Bloorview Macmillan Children’s Center shows that the most frequent orofacial injuries athletes incur during sports activities are dental injuries. Besides teeth injuries which may cause loss of teeth, blows on the chin or any strong impact on the base of the jaws or skull may cause a serious fracture or a concussion. Experts advise that athletes can significantly prevent these types of injuries by using protective mouth guards.
Dr. Ann Sagalyn, a dentist and Vice President of Avon Village Family Dentistry says that a lot of weightlifters suffer dental injuries because of the teeth-grinding and gritting they do when lifting. When they don’t wear protective mouthpieces, she says the grinding and gritting can result in injuries in the enamel, pulp, the cementum, or any part of the teeth. The dentist explains that when a substance as strong and hard as a tooth grinds against a substance with similar hardness and strength, chances are, there will be some damage. The clenching that occurs when weightlifters are in action results in a tooth-to-tooth action that may cause holes, cracks or even worse damage to the teeth or the jaws.
Dr. Vastardis, a New York-based dentist and member of the International Academy for Sports Dentistry adds that if a weightlifter does not wear a protective mouth guard, the clenching and grinding may make teeth gums to recede, cause teeth fractures, result in weakened facial muscles, and even cause headaches after training or competing. The pressure from the clenching can also wear down the enamel, crack them and cause holes in the teeth which may be painful. Again, with time, the small holes may turn into full-blown cavities that may lead to teeth loss.
A concussion is the most serious and possibly fatal orofacial injury an athlete can suffer. While concussions are more likely to happen in contact sports, strength athletes like weightlifters are also at risk of falls that may result in concussions. Without a protective mouth guard, the trauma resulting from the jaws jarring together violently may cause an impact on the base of the skull leading to a concussion. While mild concussions may have less severe effects like headaches, loss of consciousness or memory which may last from a few minutes to a few weeks, more serious concussions can result in severe problems. These dangerous, long-lasting and potentially career-ending problems include having trouble with movement, speaking, or reading.
As a weightlifter, you can prevent all the above risks by using a mouth guard whenever you are training or competing. You can find simple over-the-counter mouth guards for a few dollars. Better still, you can have one custom-made for you online.
The benefits of using a mouth guard while weight lifting
So having looked at the reasons you would use a preventative mouth guard for weight lifting, perhaps you now have an idea of the benefits they present to users. For a better understanding, here are the benefits in detail;
• Mouth guards act as buffers between the cheeks, the teeth, and the soft lip and tongue tissues. This way they prevent your tissues against bruising and laceration as a result of clenching and grinding during an action.
• A preventative mouthpiece protects your opposing teeth, dental braces, or fixed anterior bridgework from seismic contact. This helps you to avoid fractures, dislocations, root damage and possible tooth loss.
• When using a mouth guard, your mandible is given an elastic and recuperative support that prevents fractures and any other damages to the jaws, especially the lower jaws.
• Preventative mouth guards help reduce the risk of suffering a concussion. They act as shock absorbers between the lower and the upper jaws. Without mouth guard, in case of an accident while in action, like a collision or a fall, your jaws may violently jar together. This may result in a distribution of the impact from the mandible to the base of your skull, causing a concussion.
• The reinforcement a mouth guard offers can also help to prevent possible neck injuries.
• Mouth guards also offer psychological benefits to athletes. Much research shows that athletes feel more confident and they are more aggressive when they have worn a protective mouth guard. For instance, in a recent study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning (which you can find here http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2011/10000/The_Effects_of_Mouthpiece_Use_on_Cortisol_Levels.28.aspx) researchers found that athletes that wore a protective mouthpiece had a better control of their cortisol levels than those who had no protective mouthpieces on. Cortisol is a vital steroid home that helps in dealing with stress.
One can write an entire book on the importance of using mouth guards in any sporting activity. But as a weightlifter, the risks of not using one and the benefits of using one that have been discussed here should hopefully be enough to show you how vital (and at times) career-saving a mouth guard can be.
Where can you find one online?
While there are many online stores selling mouth guards, check out sentinelmouthguards.com for quality mouth guards at affordable prices. Free shipping on all orders across the U.S.