If you participate in contact sports, it is important to know how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face. Mouth guards help to cushion the blow, which reduces the risk of injury to your teeth, jaw, lips, or tongue, and even helps prevent broken teeth.
Types of Mouth Guards
The best mouth guard available to you is one that is custom-fitted by your dentist. However, if a custom-made mouth guard is not affordable for you, there are other options, such as a boil-and-bite or stock mouth guard.
- Custom-Made - These are created by your dentist and are made specifically for your mouth. They offer the best fit and comfort.
- Boil-and-Bite - These can be purchased at most drug or sporting good stores. They offer a better fit than other over-the-counter mouth guards, because they are boiled to soften them and then placed in your mouth so they can adapt to the shape of it.
- Stock - These are the least expensive option and are ready to wear, however, they often don't fit well since no one's mouth is exactly the same. They can also make talking and breathing more difficult.
Protect your Braces
A properly fitted mouth guard is very important for you if you wear braces. Taking a hit to the face can damage brackets or other fixed appliances. It also protects your gums, cheeks, and lips from injury.
Your dentist can help you select the mouth guard that will provide the most protection. While some mouth guards only cover the upper teeth, if you have braces, your dentist may suggest protection for your lower teeth as well. Do not wear a retainer or any other appliance when playing contact sports.
Care and Replacement
Your dentist can tell you when it is the right time to replace your mouth guard, however, if it is damaged, shows signs of wear, or doesn't fit properly, don't wait. Teens and children need to replace theirs more often, because their mouths are growing and changing.
It is important to keep your mouth guard clean and dry between games. Be sure to:
- Rinse before and after use.
- Clean it regularly with soap and cool water.
- Have it evaluated during your regular dental checkups.
- Use a sturdy container with air vents for storage and travel.
- Never leave it in the sun or in hot water.
- Keep your mouth guard and case out of the reach of pets.
Your mouth guard is an important part of your uniform, just like helmets or knee pads. Many sports will not allow you to play without one. Wear it for every game and soon it will become second nature. If you have an accident, or are unsure which type of mouthguard is right for you, contact our office and schedule an appointment.