Sports mouth guards are used to provide protection for both your mouth’s soft tissues (lips, cheek, gums, tongue) and hard tissues (teeth and jaw bones). These are an excellent source of injury prevention, especially for those people engaged in contact sports such as baseball, football and basketball. In fact, nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball.
Mouth guards, which typically cover the upper teeth, provide protection from blows to the face. This significantly reduces the likelihood of tooth fractures and damage to gum tissue. If you wear braces or other fixed dental frameworks on your lower teeth, our dentists have a custom mouth guard made for those teeth as well.
Why should you wear a custom mouth guard?
Not only are mouth guards helpful in preventing sports-related dental injuries, they are really helpful for people that wear braces or have permanent dental bridges put in place. A mouth guard will provide a barrier between the braces and lips/cheek, limiting the risk of soft tissue damage. If you have a retainer or other removable dental fixture, don’t wear it during contact sports.
Nearly 5 million teeth are knocked out each year during sporting activities. The cost of a fractured tooth is many times greater than cost of having a custom mouth guard made.
Types of mouthguards
Stock: pre-made and often don’t fit well. They are often bulky and make breathing and speaking more difficult.
Mouth-Formed: These mouthguards should be softened in water and then inserted into the mouth and allowed to form to the shape of your teeth. Make sure you follow the directions closely to ensure a good fit.
Custom- fitted mouthguard: This is made by your dentist for you personally. They are naturally more expensive than the other types of mouthguards. However, since they are custom, they will fit better than the other types.
The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouthguards for the following sports:
Acrobatics, Basketball, Boxing, Field Hockey, Football, Gymnastics, Handball, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Martial Arts, Racquetball, Roller Hockey, Rugby, Shot Putting, Skateboarding, Skiing, Skydiving, Soccer, Squash, Surfing, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weight Lifting, Wrestling
How should you care for a mouth guard?
- Clean mouthguard with soap and warm water
- Before storing, soak your mouthguard in mouthwash
- Keep mouthguard in well ventilated storage box
- Avoid bending mouthguard
- Don’t leave in direct sunlight as this could lead to warping
- Consult with your dentist if there are any structural issues with the mouthguard