The Importance of Mouthguards in Flag Football

flag football mouthguards

In the fast-paced world of flag football, agility, and quick thinking are paramount to success on the field. Yet amidst the fervour of the game, one crucial element often overlooked is the indispensability of a mouthguard. The common misconception that non-contact variations of football do not require as much protective gear could not be further from the truth. Flag football, being an exhilarating blend of skill and speed, still harbours the risk of dental and facial injuries that can be mitigated significantly with the use of a mouthguard.

Here, we’ll explore why this small piece of gear plays a huge role in the safety and performance of flag football players, the different types of mouthguards to consider, and how you can select the best one for your needs.

Why Mouth guards Matter in Flag Football

The term “non-contact” flag football may lead some to believe that mouth guards are an optional accessory. In reality, the game’s dynamic nature is replete with sudden movements, falls, and inadvertent contact that can pose a risk to your oral health. Mouth guards serve as a vital layer of protection against a variety of potential issues.

Protection Against Impact Injuries

Players may not be tackling each other to the ground, but players often find themselves in close proximity. A quick turn, a jostle, or even a collision with the ground can cause accidental impacts. A mouth guard doesn’t just safeguard your teeth; it can also provide cushioning and reduce the severity of concussions by absorbing some of the shock from hits to the jaw.

Prevention of Dental Injuries

A direct hit to the mouth can lead to chipped, broken, or even knocked-out teeth. The cost of repairing dental injuries is often high, both financially and in terms of quality of life. Mouth guards act as a barrier to protect your teeth’s integrity and prevent any sidelined trips to the dentist.

Enhancement of Overall Safety During the Game

In an environment where players quickly change direction and speed, the potential for accidental injuries is present. Mouth guards, by securing the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth, ensure that a sudden fall or jolt does not lead to bitten tongues or injuries to the oral mucosa.

Types of Mouthguards

When it comes to mouth guard, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have three primary options, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Boil and Bite MouthGuard

Boil and Bite MouthGuard

Boil-and-Bite Mouth guards

Readily available at sporting goods stores, boil-and-bite mouth guards can be softened in hot water and then molded to the shape of your mouth. They offer a degree of customization for a relatively low cost.

Custom-Fitted Mouthguards

Designed specifically for you, custom-fitted mouth guards are created by dental professionals. They provide the best fit and comfort and offer a higher level of protection. Although more expensive than other options, they are the most secure and accommodating over extended periods.

Stock Mouthguards

Stock mouth guards come pre-formed and ready to use. They are the least customized option and often the least comfortable. While they do offer some level of protection, they can impede breathing and speaking, which can be inconvenient during intense game moments.

Benefits of Using a Mouthguard

Beyond blunt protection from immediate dangers, mouth guards offer a suite of benefits that can significantly impact a player’s performance.

Reduced Risk of Dental Trauma

Mouth guards help to avert issues like bruxism (teeth grinding), they spread the force of an impact over a greater area, reducing the likelihood of severe trauma to a single tooth. This not only safeguards your teeth but can also prevent injuries to the lips, tongue, and other soft tissues.

Improved Focus and Performance

Wearing a mouth guard can also improve your focus and endurance. Feeling secure and protected allows you to concentrate solely on the game, leading to better performance and less distraction from any underlying worries about injury.

Compliance with Safety Regulations

Many leagues and organizations have recognized the importance of mouth guards and made them mandatory. Compliance is key not only for the safety of players but also for avoiding potential penalties that may affect the outcome of a game.

Choosing the Right Mouth guard

Selecting the appropriate mouth guard for your flag football needs is a personal decision based on fit, material, and durability.

Dummy MouthGuard

Dummy MouthGuard

Proper Fit and Comfort

A mouth guard that does not fit correctly can be more detrimental than beneficial. Ensure that your mouth guard sits snugly and comfortably in your mouth without hindering breathing or causing you to gag.

Material Durability

Consider the toughness and thickness of the material. Look for mouth guards that are resistant and capable of enduring the rough play and extended use characteristic of flag football.

Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance

An often-neglected aspect of mouthguard usage is hygiene. Opt for a mouth guard that is easy to clean and store, as a dirty mouth guard can become a breeding ground for bacteria and compromise your oral health.

Conclusion

The prevalence of dental and facial injuries in flag football is no myth. From errant hands reaching for the flag to the occasional fall, the unprotected mouth has plenty of opportunities to suffer harm. A mouth guard is not just an accessory; it’s a necessary piece of equipment that offers protection, peace of mind, and performance-enhancing benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, making a mouth guard part of your standard gear will ensure that your focus remains on the thrill of competition, not on the risk of injury. Take the step to safeguard your smile and keep enjoying the game for years to come.

FAQs

Yes, you can and should wear a mouthguard if you have braces. Custom fitted mouthguards are recommended for those with braces as they provide the best protection and comfort while accommodating orthodontic appliances.

Mouthguards should be replaced every season, or sooner if they become distorted, torn, or show signs of significant wear. Regular inspection is essential to ensure ongoing protection.

While mouthguards primarily protect against dental and facial injuries, some studies suggest that they can also reduce the severity of concussions by absorbing shock and stabilizing the jaw and neck. However, mouthguards are not a guaranteed way to prevent concussions.

After each use, rinse your mouthguard with cool water or mouthwash, then use a toothbrush with toothpaste to gently clean its surfaces. Allow it to air-dry completely before storing it in a ventilated case.

Yes, mouthguards are designed with specific sports in mind, taking into account the level and type of impact typically experienced. However, any mouthguard that fits well and provides adequate protection is better than none, regardless of the sport.

Yes, wearing your mouthguard throughout the game, even if you’re on the sidelines, is important. It ensures constant protection since accidents can occur at any time, not just during active play.