An active, healthy lifestyle is essential for your overall well-being, right? So don’t let yourself be sidelined by an unexpected injury to your teeth while playing sports.

A mouth guard can be as essential for your game as any other piece of equipment. Professional athletes aren’t the only people who need to protect themselves from an injury. If you play sports as part of a high school team or if you’re active recreationally, you should consider a mouth guard.

Why? Many people don’t recognize the importance until they’ve cracked a tooth. Children can fall off of their bikes and teens take hits when tackled in football, soccer or lacrosse.

Truth is, without a mouth guard, your child could sustain a tooth injury that leads to lifelong damage to permanent teeth. Repairing the damage — such as discoloration from injury or cracks that need to be mended — can cost considerably more than investing in the right protective gear.

So why do people avoid them? Well, some people think they’re uncomfortable. But a good dentist can make a mouth guard that is customized to your teeth. Not only that, but the guard can be made to still allow the person to talk and breathe easily while wearing it.

Think your sport isn’t “violent” enough to require use of a mouth guard? The American Dental Association recommends getting a mouth guard for anyone who participates in 30 different sports – including skateboarding, surfing, skydiving volleyball and weightlifting!

The bottom-line? Check with your dentist to find out if using a mouth guard is right for you. Learn your options and protect yourself and your teeth – so you can keep your focus during the game and knock it out of the park!