Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, CA
The use of mouth guards in contact sports is not only on the rise, but it is recommended. Wearing a mouth guard, both during competition and in practice, substantially reduces an athlete’s risk of sustaining an orofacial or dental injury.
Thanks to recent advances in dental science, however, did you know that wearing a certain type of mouth guard even could improve your athletic performance?
This innovation is a neuromuscular mouth guard and, while not available on a widespread basis yet, this type of mouth guard or sports guard not only provides the same level of protection but also could yield a competitive edge for athletes.
A sports mouth guard obtained from a professional and experienced dentist is going to give you the most protection possible against orofacial and dental injuries. These mishaps, when sustained in contact sports, often are catastrophic in nature as far as dental health is concerned. Typical consequences of a dental sports injury include total tooth loss and a visit to an emergency dentist.
Constructing a sports guard with adherence to neuromuscular dimensions takes this protection to the next level. Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialization of the dental field that entails intensive post-graduate education after dental school. A neuromuscular dentist seeks to find, or regain, the patient’s ideal alignment of their bite and jaw. Thus, a neuromuscular mouth guard protects you against dental injuries during sports but also re-aligns your jaw into its ideal position. By wearing a mouth guard that achieves this ideal jaw alignment, an athlete could experience a higher level of performance.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey actually found that to be the case. Using professional and Division I male athletes as participants, the study was broken into two groups—one that wore custom-fit sports guards, and one that wore neuromuscular mouth guards. Both groups performed three different athletic evaluations: a vertical jump, bench press, and a 30-second anaerobic test. The results showed that the athletes who wore the neuromuscular mouth guards achieved higher results, producing higher vertical leaps and superior peak performance in the bench press.
Why did this occur? The theory is that, when the ideal alignment of the bite and jaw has been achieved, your facial and jaw muscles are relaxed and have to do less work. This higher state of relaxation leads to better posture and stability in individuals, which consequently can improve both balance and overall strength—two crucial factors in the performance of athletes.
Neuromuscular mouth guards represent the cutting edge of dental science, and cannot be obtained from just any dentist. Only an experienced and trained neuromuscular dentist, like the ones on staff at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, can provide you with one of these state-of-the-art mouth guards. Mouth guards are recommended for every athlete participating in contact sports, but to also give you a potential competitive edge. To learn more, contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411 to schedule a consultation.