- Wear a mouthguard for any sport or activity where you may come in contact with other players or hard surfaces.
- A mouthguard not only protects your teeth. It also protects the soft tissues around the mouth.
- Choose a mouthguard that fits properly, is easy to clean and doesn’t impede your breathing or speech.
Mouthguards aren’t just for kids. You wouldn’t play hockey without a helmet. Why would you hit the ice without a mouthguard?
There are many injuries that can come from contact sports like hockey or football, such as lost teeth, fractured jaws and cuts on gums. A mouthguard not only protects your teeth. It also protects the soft tissues around the mouth. In more serious injuries a mouthguard can reduce the risk of jaw fracture by absorbing much of a blow to the jaw.
Whether you’re playing full-contact hockey or a friendly game of racquetball, a little preparation can prevent costly and sometimes painful mistakes later on.
When to Wear a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are necessary for any sport where you might come into contact with other players or hard surfaces. Anyone who participate in sports such as football, hockey, basketball, ski racing, baseball, soccer, wrestling, lacrosse, rugby, gymnastics and martial arts should wear mouthguards when practising or competing.
Mouthguards are also a good idea for recreational activities such as skateboarding, in-line skating and cycling.
Many athletes resist wearing a mouthguard because of bulkiness and poor fit. Custom-made mouthguards are the most comfortable, non-bulky and form-fitting.
Choosing a Mouthguard
A dentist will consider several factors when fitting you for a mouthguard, including:
- The size of your mouth
- Your bite
- The type of sport or activity you’re participating in
- Whether you wear braces or other dental appliances
Your dentist will address your specific needs to ensure your comfort and protection.
Types of Mouthguards
This method provides the best fit, protection and comfort. The dentist takes an impression of the patient’s mouth. The mouthguard is then fabricated from a cast model of the patient’s teeth. A custom-made mouthguard is the most durable. It can also be modified for specific sports and patient needs. It does not interfere with speech or breathing.
This type of mouthguard requires heating in warm water and then the user bites into the warm plastic. Because it is not vacuum-fitted onto a model of the patient’s teeth, the fit is not as precise. The heating process will also reduce the longevity of the mouthguard. Discuss this option with your dentist.
Made of rubber or polyvinyl, the ready-made mouthguard is a generic fit with limited comfort, protection and durability. It is often bulky and loose-fitting and may interfere with breathing and speech.
Caring For Your Mouthguard
Caring for your mouthguard will help it take care of your teeth longer. Take a few moments to:
- Rinse your mouthguard under cold water after each use and air-dry. Occasionally clean it with mild soap and water or mouthwash.
- Store your mouthguard in a plastic container when not in use to avoid damage due to excessive heat and cold.
- Wear your mouthguard properly. Do not cut or alter it and do not chew on it.
- Check your mouthguard regularly. Let your dentist know if it shows any signs of wear, or has any tears or cracks that may weaken it. If the bite has changed and the mouthguard no longer fits well, it can sometimes be adjusted by the dentist.
Talk with your dentist if you have any questions about mouthguards.
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