If one or two teeth are lost from the front, our smile, talk, and eating food—everything would be affected. It is essential to learn how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face, especially important if you participate in organized sports or any other recreational activities. Hence, mouthguards (mouth protectors) help in decreasing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face, or jaw. Mouthguards are the coverings that are worn over teeth and often used to protect teeth from damage from teeth grinding and during sports. Usually, it covers your upper teeth only. Still, in some cases, your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. An effective mouth guard is expected to be comfortable, sturdy, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not hinder your breathing or speech. Your dentist can advise about the best mouthguard suitable for you.
Both can use mouthguards; adults are children who play sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in sports like gymnastics and any recreational activity, such as skateboarding, mountain biking, would benefit from wearing a protective mouthguard.
There are three types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouth protectors – They come ready to wear. They are less expensive and can be bought at most sporting goods stores and department stores. But, unfortunately, little can be done to adjust their fit, as they are bulky and make breathing and talking difficult. They also provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
- Boil and bite mouth protectors – These are made from thermoplastic material and also can be bought at many sporting goods stores. It is placed in hot water to become soft, then placed in the mouth, and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
- Custom-fitted mouth protectors – These are customized and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist’s instructions and your needs. At first, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth, and a mouth guard is then molded over the model using a particular material. Due to the use of the unique equipment and due to the extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouthguard is more expensive than the other types. Still, it provides the most comfort and protection.
Protecting Your Braces
- A properly fitted mouthguard may be essential for people who wear braces or have fixed bridgework.
- Discuss with your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide you comfort and the right protection.
- Do not use it during any contact sports, if you have a retainer or other removable appliance.
- Consult your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard. Teenagers and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.
- It is essential to keep your mouthguard clean and dry in between the games as well.
- Rinse before and after each use.
- Clean the mouthguard in lukewarm, soapy water regularly. Then, rinse it immediately and thoroughly.
- Evaluate your mouthguard in every dental check-up. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.
- Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container to avoid bacteria.
- Don’t leave the mouthguard in the sun or hot water.
- Keep checking its’ fitting, and if there are any signs of wear and tear, it needs a replacement.
Hence, mouthguards are devices used to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching while you sleep or from injuries while you play sports. They can also help decrease snor