No Mouthguard? That's Madness.
Certain college basketball teams may be smiling this month as they advance further in the big tournament – but if they don't wear mouthguards, those smiles won't last long.
Players who don't use mouth protection may think the likelihood of a mouth injury is small, but earlier this season, two NBA players inadvertently made the case for mouthguards within days of each other.
During a game in December 2015, the Atlanta Hawks' Dennis Schroder smacked his mouth against another player's knee. A moment later, he raised his hand to his mouth and spit something into it – a tooth, it appeared. He stuck the tooth down his sock and continued playing the game.1 Luckily, Schroder just knocked a veneer loose.
The Miami Heat's Goran Dragic wasn't so lucky. Just a few days prior to Schroder's mishap, Dragic took an elbow to the mouth and lost part of a front tooth. He visited his dentist a few days later to have a crown placed on the tooth.2
These players weren't wearing mouthguards, which likely would have prevented the need for dental work. Wearing mouthguards can help prevent not only broken teeth, but also jaw injuries and cuts to the lips and tongue.3
If you're looking to emulate a professional basketball player, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is your best bet – his mouthguard habit is so famous that it's depicted in NBA video games.4