Mouthguards. They’re awesome. If you’re child plays sports, he/she should be wearing one.
A mouthguard is a device designed to prevent injury to teeth, gums, tongue and arches by helping soften the impact to these areas. It is commonly used during contact sports, although it is also recommended for gymnastics, skating and other sports wherein impact to mouth and jaw may cause damage.
According to studies, athletes are 60 times more prone to suffer harm to teeth and gums if they are not wearing mouthguards. Hence, dentists not only recommend but strictly require those who participate in contact sports to use mouthguards or mouth protectors.
Types of Mouth Guards
Mouthguards come in three types:
Custom fitted. Here at our San Antonio dental clinic, we offer mouthguards that are tailored personally for you. These offer the best fit for your mouth. The comfort and fit of a custom mouthguard just can’t compare to anything else. With a custom fit, it is less likely to be a distraction while playing sports and more likely to provide the protection you want.
Stock. The most inexpensive type of mouthguards, stocks come pre-formed and ready to wear. However, they won’t guarantee you the best fit. They can be cumbersome and make talking and breathing a little more difficult. These are certainly better than nothing, but they’re more likely to end up in a gym bag and not in your mouth.
Boil and bite. These mouth protectors also give users a custom fit by adapting to the shape of your mouth, once they are softened in boiled water. These can be bought in drug stores and from sporting goods retailers. Once again, these are most definitely better than nothing, but not that great.
Custom fitted mouth pieces are your best bet as they give you a more tailored fit compared to the other two types. If all of a patient’s permanent teeth have erupted, it is certainly a worthwhile investment for any athlete. For children that have a mix of adult teeth and baby teeth, or are in the middle of braces where the teeth are moving, a stock or boil and bite mouthguard will do suffice.
An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure. As our mouth is the dirtiest part of our body, proper cleaning is required to keep your mouth piece germ-free for your next use. In addition, follow these other helpful tips in caring for your mouth piece:
- •Never share your mouth piece with anyone. On the same note, never borrow someone else’s mouth piece as well.
- •Before and after each use, clean your mouth piece with water, your toothbrush and toothpaste.
- •Deep clean at least weekly with cool soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
- •Place your mouth piece in a durable container with vents to keep it clean and dry.
- •Avoid exposing your mouth piece to sunlight or hot water.
- •Always check for wears and tears to see if you are in need of a new mouth piece.
If you want to get a mouthguard, consult your dentist to know which mouth piece is the best for you.