Why gum shields are important? it is the cheapest insurance you can buy!
Why wear gum shields?
Of course we realise that rugby is a collision sport, with collisions come the danger of banging our heads – read on concussions here – but also bang our teeth. An easy way to protect your teeth is by wearing a gum shield.
Btw, some say that a mouthguard also helps protecting against concussion.
There are two considerations though:
- With a gum shields in our mouth it is more difficult to breath (some research claims 15% less). This is why we see a lot of kids running with the gum shield in front of their mouth….;
- And it is more difficult to communicate, just what we coaches always talk about!
World Rugby talks about Player Welfare, but wearing gum shields is not compulsary. But I always make an agreement with the players and parents at the start of the new season on two things: bring your own bidon with water to rugby training AND always bring a mouthguard. So you have to wear a mouthguard in rugby if you are in my team. Without one, you cannot attend my training.
Of course kids forget and for this, I always have gum shields with me.
How to get the best gum shield
Because of the two considerations we need a best fitting gum shield and with the least amount of material in our mouths. Best is to have your dentist make one, these are of course expensive, but check your insurance policy. At Castricum we used to have a company who came by and fitted the whole team in one go. Look for this and offer the parents this service! When you get to the store do not look for cheap but for one that meets the two criteria.
Also some advise on hygiene, buy a mouthguard with a little container to store it in. Makes sense does it.