Whether you’re an avid cyclist, athlete or an average Joe or Jane, when it comes to helmets and mouth guards, University of Minnesota Physicians orthopedic specialist Heather Bergeson, M.D. ,C.A.Q., of TRIA Orthopaedic Center has some simple advice: Wear them!

Helmets help protect your head from structural damage so it’s important that they fit properly. Also, it’s important to have the right sport-specific helmet.

One common misconception about helmets is that they can prevent concussions. While they can’t reduce the risk of concussions entirely, helmets reduce the transmission of the force of the blow to the brain; they help prevent structural injuries such as skull fractures.

Mouth guards can also protect against injury by preventing against dental trauma. They can also provide structural support, but there is no evidence that they help prevent concussions, according to Bergeson.

But even though they can’t completely prevent concussions, helmets and mouth guards are certainly a great first step toward protecting yourself from other kinds of head injuries and facial trauma.

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