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Protect Your Mouth Says Crusaders Captain



Popular rugby player and captain of the Canterbury Crusaders, Todd Blackadder has an important message for all people playing contact sport - "Protect your mouth - wear a mouthguard".

He has come out in support of the New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) who actively promotes the importance of mouthguards on an annual basis.

The Dental Association wants people to know how important it is to wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports and says that protective mouthguards will help prevent most teeth and jaw injuries as well as concussion.

Mouthguards are a "plastic" appliance, clear or coloured, and worn over the teeth - usually one jaw (the upper). This then protects the teeth from a front blow, or, by providing a cushion; it protects when the jaws are driven hard together.

Todd has just had his most recent custom-made mouthguard fitted by dentist Steve Simmons and says he would never play rugby without it.

"This is the type of mouth guard [custom made] I always use," he says.

There are two types of mouthguards available - the custom made (by a dentist) or Do It Yourself "boil and bite".

The New Zealand Dental Association recommends a properly fitted custom made mouthguard, as it offers the best and safest protection. The dentist makes custom made mouthguards on a model of the jaw.

"This way it fits the individual's mouth, is the right thickness on the tooth surfaces, and over the front of the teeth, and above all doesn't slip in the mouth. Also, when making a mouthguard, the dentist can check the mouth and teeth and be sure of the health and safety of the person who needs this protection," says President of the Dental Association, Dr Stewart Edward.

Preformed "boil and bite" mouthguards can be obtained from sports stores or chemists. These are a preformed rim of plastic, which are heated and adapted to the mouth by the wearer.

"Many people wear these types of mouthguards, but they can become loose, are generally less comfortable, are bulky and can lose the thickness needed to provide full protection," Dr Edward says.

"There is no guarantee that these will protect you from an accident."

Dr Edward says the long-term consequence of knocking or breaking a tooth can be considerable.

"Once a tooth is broken, it's broken for life."

"Protection is so easy. All it takes is a mouthguard . . . . and it's great to have sports people such as Todd Blackadder prepared to reinforce this important message," he says.

Based on extensive research evidence, ACC recommends anyone intending to take part in a contact sport to wear a well-fitted mouthguard. The commission has statistics from 1998, which show clearly that in rugby and league, wearing a mouthguard prevents problems.

Dental experts and sports trainers agree that to be effective, a mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, stable, not interfere with speaking and breathing, be well retained and be of the right thickness in the important areas

The New Zealand Dental Association recommends the following:

- always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports

- a properly fitted, custom made mouthguard offers the best


- ask your dentist about the best mouthguard for YOU

REMEMBER a broken tooth is damaged for LIFE




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