Athletic Mouthguard: Keeping Your Teeth Protected
Athletic Mouthguard or Sports mouthguard
Athletes need to wear an appliance called athletic mouthguard or sports guard. As they go to play sports, whether it’s recreational or professionally for competition, they have to be armed to the teeth, literally. Athletic mouthguards help to keep the teeth protected after a trauma to the face. It also provides a cushioning so that it minimizes a force of a punch, accident or injuries to the jaw, lips, teeth, cheek, gums and tongue and reduces the chances of laceration or bruising of the tissues or a tooth being knocked out. Because of this, mouth guard should become a part of your sports gear. Especially, if you are dealing with contact sports such as boxing, basketball, soccer, wrestling, field hockey, ice hockey, football, karate, racquetball, skateboarding and rugby, you are 60% prone to mouth injury. Using a mouthguard can significantly lower this rate. An athletic mouthguard should fit correctly to your teeth (best if customized), so that it will stay in place and it won’t fall out or interfere with your breathing.
What are types of mouthguard?
There are three types of mouthguards which you can find today. They are:
- Custom-made. This set offers the best fit. Your dentist makes this for you by taking an impression of your upper arch, making a mold of your teeth and then send it to the laboratory to make the appliance. So this type of ahtletic mouthguard is custom made from an actual cast of your teeth . This is the most comfortable type to wear, it won’t move during sports activities and won’t interfere with your breathing or speech. This type is also the most recommended for anyone wearing braces. As a forceful blow on the face will not only damage the braces, but can cause the metal braces to lacerate the soft tissues like the lip, cheeks and the tongue. Athletic mouthguard provides support and barrier for your teeth and soft tissue in case you encounter accidents during the game. This is a little bit more expensive than the other types, but definitely worth it and it will last you longer.
- Stock. This is inexpensive because you can just pick this up at any sports store. You may feel it very bulky. Talking and breathing maybe difficult to do with this type. It will not stay in your mouth completely and it may fall out and not protect you at all. This type is not recommended by dentists.
- Boil and bite. This type comes in between the custom-made and the stock. You can easily buy this in any drugstores or athletic stores. You will have to boil this in water. When the temperature adjusted, you have to wear it so that it will conform to the shape of your teeth and mouth. This is more affordable than the custom-made, but won’t last as long.
How to care for your mouthguards?
Proper caring for your athletic mouthguard is needed to keep it in proper shape longer. Here are some useful tips:
- Wash before and after each use.
- Use toothbrush, toothpaste and cold water to clean it.
- Occasionally, soak it in mouth wash over night to give it a fresh taste.
- Soak the mouth guard in a denture solution for about 20 minutes once a month.
- Keep the mouth guard in a container with good ventilation or in a container with water.
- Never expose it under the sun or in hot water. It will get deformed.
- Check if it needs to be replaced. If it is too worn down, it’s time to replace it.
- Never wear your removable retainers during sports.
What to look for in an athletic mouthguard?
In buying a perfect mouth guard, here are some things you have to take note:
- Causes minimal disturbance in talking and most especially breathing
- Provides enough thickness for protection, but not too thick that it will be uncomfortable and may cause more damage like causing TMJ problems.
Talk to your dentist about mouthguards. They are the best person to consult with. Remember to take in your athletic mouthguard to your dental visits so that your dentist can check for any wear and tear and to check the fit to make sure it’s not loose.
By: Ladan Zinati