Contact sports like hockey, football, soccer and longboards are a lot of fun, but these sports can also be a little bit scary when dental injuries occur. Serious athletes know they need the protection of a mouthguard, and even recreational sports enthusiasts and gym-goers can benefit from them.
While performance-enhancing mouthguards are a revolutionary, entirely new category of sports equipment, the concept of enhancing performance by adjusting the jaw is nothing new.
In good health, something small can give an athlete a significant edge over the competition. Making use of performance-enhancing mouthguards not just offers protection and impact reduction to your teeth, but it is akin to performance-enhancing without the use of drugs.
To learn more about the various types of mouthguards, you can check out Benefits of Custom Mouthguards: Dental Guide to Performance Mouthwear, or continue reading on the benefits and some other important tidbits you should know about performance-enhancing mouthguards.
What Is A Performance-Enhancing Mouthguard?
PEPMs or performance-enhancing protection mouthguards are pure power edged orthopedic jaw devices combined with a protective mouthguard.
It is a device designed to hold the jaw in a comfortable position. Having correctly positioned and aligned jaws, in turn, makes you more relaxed as your body is not using your muscles to hold your jaw in an unbalanced posture. Those muscles are freed up so you can deliver optimum performance for your sport.
When To Use PEPMs?
Like taking your time getting fit with the right footwear, helmets, and uniforms, do not overlook your most important piece of safety equipment, which is your mouthguard. You should wear a mouthguard, specifically a performance-enhancing protection mouthguard, if the sport involves the risk of contact with a stick, bat, ball, or puck, not to mention the elbows or head of another player.
Care And Cleaning Your PEPMs
Along with ensuring the protection of your teeth and the enhancement of your performance, PEPMs should be handled, cleaned, and taken care of to ensure proper, hygienic, and more prolonged usage. Below are the tips on how you can care for and clean your PEPMs:
- Make sure to either brush or floss your teeth before using your mouthguard.
- Don’t chew or bite on your mouthguard because it could change the form.
- Always separate your mouthguard from filthy, sweaty clothing and sports gears.
- After each use, wash the mouthpiece with soap and cold—not humid—water.
- Rinse your mouthguard with mouthwash before storing it.
- Store and transport the mouthguard in a properly-ventilated container to keep it clean, dry, and prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Place and ship your mouthguard in a sturdy plastic package to avoid damage to the structure.
- Do not expose the mouthguard to heat or direct sunlight as both can melt the rubber, thus varying fit and decreasing the protection it can provide.
- Don’t use someone else’s mouthguard and never let them use your own, too.
- Don’t attempt to modify the design of your mouthguard by yourself; let your dentist fix it.
- Contact the dentist in case you have the following red flags of using a compromised mouthguard: shortness of breath, coughing, diarrhea, and feeling nauseated accompanied by vomiting.
Benefits Of Performance-Enhancing Mouthguards
Increased Athlete’s Strength
An unbalanced bite leads to instability in your jaw, your cervical spine, your upper shoulder girdle, and torso. Such condition restricts your muscles from functioning at their peak, thus the reduced muscle strength. Taking the help offered by PEPMs in correcting your jaw positioning. Balancing your bite would even things out and create a difference in your play.
The use of a mouthguard is indeed adequate protection for athletes of any and all ages and skills, helping protect them from chipped or cracked teeth, root and bone injury, and tooth loss. Mouthguards also protect from notable injuries such as jaw injury, brain hemorrhage, concussions, and neck injuries by managing to prevent situations whereby the mandible slams onto the upper jaw bone. Through containing soft tissue away from the teeth in the oral cavity, mouthguards help avoid the scratching and scraping of the lips, tongue, and cheek, particularly for players with orthodontic equipment.
Increases Confidence Level
A study in New Zealand shows that with PEPMs on your mouth during play, workouts, or sports competitions, your confidence level can increase up to 96%. This is primarily due to the psychological conditioning of the brain, knowing that the body is prepared and safeguarded from any unnecessary injuries that may take place.
Decreased Athletic Stress
When you compete or train, you instinctively clench your jaw. All that clenching restricts your airways and releases cortisol, a hormone that causes stress and fatigue. When you are wearing a performance-enhancing mouthguard, the equipment’s power wedges open your airways and combats the effects of clenching while maintaining an optimal space between your teeth.
Improves Reaction Time
Performance-enhancing mouthguards make you faster, and better, which can ultimately lead to game-changing results. This is due to the increased airway passage brought about by using PEPMs. Elevated levels of oxygen in the blood aids in the quick and uninterrupted functions of nerve cells, which plays a vital role in reflexes. That means more endurance, a faster reaction time, and a probable win in your game.
Relieving the pressure on muscles by using PEPMs during strenuous exercise or active sports engagements produces up to 25% less lactic acid. The amount of lactic acid in our blood is known to cause fatigue. Backed up by research, increased oxidation and less pressure on muscles result in reduced lactic acid productions. Consequently, this ends with less fatigue experienced by an athlete or a person working out whenever they are engaged in their feats.
Works With Dentures And Braces
PEPMs occupy edentulous gaps, helping to support adjoining teeth. It enables temporary dentures to be detached during athletic events.
Furthermore, having braces doesn’t mean that you can’t have a mouthguard. While you can still wear mouthguards with braces, getting custom-fitted mouthguards or one of the acrylic types is not recommended due to the possibility that when your teeth move, these types of mouthguards would not fit and will just be a waste of money on your part.
Instead, you should opt for the moldable performance-enhancing mouth guards, which are molded perfectly into your teeth and can be remolded once your teeth have moved.
Guard Against Concussion
Mouthguards significantly reduce brain injuries by serving as stabilizers between the top and bottom jaws. In the absence of a PEPM, the pain of jaws grinding vigorously together can extend the impact force of the mandibular condyles towards the back of the skull, leading to a concussion.
Improves Peripheral Vision
Tension, stress, and strain felt within the body, and especially the muscles, can cause grave effects or even damages to specific organs.
Considering the science that lies behind how our ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and throat are aligned, a change in one organ significantly affects the other. Due to that fact alone, a healthy, balanced, and properly positioned teeth and jaw would definitely result in proper functions of the ears, throat and the eyes. This entails improved peripheral vision for athletes, sports enthusiasts, and gym folks alike.
You might be wondering how can a mouthguard, which is meant for the teeth and mouth, affect the ears. Truth be told, using a specially designed performance-enhancing protection mouthguard allows you to have a good bite that relieves all the pressure that is targeted at your auditory nerves just above your jaws. By not pressing into the auditory nerves, one can be confident of a better hearing experience, especially when playing.
Available In A Variety Of Colors
Why shouldn’t your mouthguard be fashionable? If you are athletic and do not shun the touch of being stylish at the same time, PEPMs come in a variety of colors that could match with your uniform.
Trauma arising from orofacial injuries related to sports can vary, from severe pain and damage in removing a missing tooth to significant disability and expense stemming out of a concussion, which can put an end to a person’s sports career.
Sadly, the population remains generally unaware about the grave repercussions of athletic injuries, as well as some preventive measures.
Hitting two birds with one stone, you can accept the help offered by performance-enhancing mouthguards. By doing so, you not only ensure the protection of your mouth, teeth, and jaw, but the projection and enhancement of your performance by a significant margin. Net-net, PEPMs provide you with a two-in-one solution that would cost you less than what would it in case you get severe injuries like concussions.
Though we don’t want it to happen, losing your game is very frustrating—as equally frustrating as losing a tooth or two. By taking heed of the benefits of performance-enhancing mouthguards, you can be confident—scientifically and literally—of the higher percentage of winning your game and having that perfect smile at the same time.
So whenever you do sports, from full-contact sports to non-contact ones, pick the right mouthguard and unleash a better athlete in you.