Dental implant FAQs

Tips for Avoiding Tooth Injury in Sports

Research by dental associations has shown that between 19% and 39% of dental injuries occur during sports activity. This figure can rise depending upon the source, and also depending on the nature of the sport you play.

High-contact sports naturally entail a greater risk. Unfortunately, even minor injuries can cause lasting and costly damage, especially to those wearing braces or undergoing orthodontic treatment. Roughly 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one front tooth, often involving damage to the cheek, tongue, jaw and more. Knowing this, it’s essential to avoid accidents and prevent them from occurring.

Taking steps to protect yourself should be relatively easy and affordable. There are two main types of protection to choose from, depending on the sport: mouth guards and helmets.

Choice of sport

To know which type of protection is best, you should take into account the level and type of contact expected in your sport of choice. Some sports will always carry a large risk of dental injury, requiring mouth guards as obligatory, see: boxing or rugby. If dental protection is something you are serious about, you might also consider seeking protection in sports where it isn’t obliged. When fielding penalties in hockey, for example, a face cage is the ultimate in defence.


In any sport involving contact, speed and impact it is advisable to wear a helmet. These may include sports like hockey, bike riding or skating. Wearing the appropriate type of helmet for your sport, of a comfortable and snug fit, should be enough to contribute significantly to prevention of unforeseen tooth injuries.

Mouth guards

A proper mouth guard is one of the most effective ways of preventing injury not only to your teeth, but to your lips, gums and tongue as well. The only type to be recommended by dental experts is a custom-fit mouth guard, as a visit to the dentist ensures an accurate mould of your teeth is taken. This guarantees a perfect fit to better protect the teeth – far better than a shop-bought alternative.

If a custom-fit mouth guard is not an option for some reason, then a “boil-and-bite” model may be the next best thing, and these can generally be bought in a sports shop. They require the guard be placed in boiling water first. Then, the user bite downs on the mouth guard when it has turned soft (but not too hot). This allows the plastic to create a mould around your teeth. One of the benefits is that, if the guard doesn’t fit, you simply need to reheat and bite down again.

The AGD, an American and Canadian dental organisation, estimates that over 200,000 sports injuries each year are prevented by mouth guards. Therefore, it’s worth considering using a mouth guard even in sports where it’s not considered mandatory, such as football and basketball.

In the event of injury

In the event that a tooth has been knocked out, there’s still a good chance it can be saved. All you need to do is immerse the tooth in milk (or saliva, if there’s no milk to hand) and bring it to the dentist quickly enough for them to reattach it. This goes for parts of damaged teeth as well.

Even in the event of chips and cracks, a dentist can repair the damage using durable tooth-coloured materials.

If the tooth can’t be preserved and reattached, it’s not the end of the world. At DentalCarePlus, We offer sophisticated dental implant solutions as a means for natural-looking and permanent tooth replacements.

In summary, the best methods to protect against dental injury are:

  • Analysing the level of contact in your sport
  • Wearing appropriate headgear
  • Wearing custom-fit mouth guards
  • Wearing “boil-and-bite” mouth guards

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Registered address: DentalCarePlus is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited Limited. Registered number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom, BS16 1GW.