Does a Mouth Guard Help You in Basketball?
Basketball players are vulnerable to injury; they wear almost no protective equipment, and although the game is not about dominating your opponent with physical size and strength, there may be physical battles that take place within the course of a game that can end up with a player getting injured. Playing with a mouth guard can help protect a player from injury.
The most physical part of basketball usually occurs when players get involved in the rebounding battle. As players extend their arms to collect the rebound, their hands and elbows may hit an opponent directly in the mouth. One likely scenario occurs when a player has secured a rebound and swings the ball overhead as he comes down. The swinging of the arms can result in a direct shot to the face or mouth of an opponent. This can be a tooth-rattling hit that causes a major injury.
Most players who have played basketball for any length of time have been hit by an errant shot to the mouth. Wearing a mouth guard can give a player confidence that he won't suffer a significant injury, enabling him to play the game with freedom and confidence.
When wearing a mouth guard, most players are worried about their front teeth, the upper teeth in particular. Instead of wearing a full mouth guard that covers both the upper and lower teeth, players may choose to wear a smaller mouth guard that protects only their upper teeth. This may be more comfortable, but it won't protect the mouth, lips and gums from getting cut or prevent damage to lower teeth.
The cost of a mouth guard can range from $10 to $40 -- a small cost compared to the fees associated with a fractured tooth. If a tooth gets broken or knocked out, it can cost as much as $2,000 per tooth for repair or replacement. The presence of a strong mouth guard can prevent serious injuries.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.