Mouth guards are a very important and necessary piece of equipment. Just like a helmet protects the head, a mouth guard prevents mouth injuries to the teeth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. If your child has braces, it helps protect that investment too. Since one-third of all dental injuries are sports related, this makes of having one a top priority.
Typical mouth injuries are chipped and broken teeth, fractured crowns and bridgework, cheek and lip injuries, damage to the tooth roots, fractured jaws, and concussions. All athletes can prevent these issues with a properly fitted mouth guard. In some sports, it’s mandatory to wear one such as hockey and football. Any contact sports like basketball, softball, baseball, soccer and wrestling would be safer if children and adults wore a protective mouthguard.
Types of mouth guards
There are three types of mouth guards:
- A custom-made mouth guard that is fabricated by your dentist or orthodontist. This is the most protective option.
- There is a boil-and-bite mouth guard that are found in most sporting goods stores. Once the mouth guard is softened by the heating process it can mold to your mouth.
- Then there is general one- size-fits-all mouth guard that is inexpensive but is not recommended by dentists because they may not protect your mouth fully.
Mouth guard maintenance
Once you invest in a good mouth guard, it’s important to maintain it. It’s imperative that it is kept clean and put in a protective case for safe keeping. Once it becomes worn or damaged due to repeated use, it should be replaced because it will no longer offer optimal protection. Like your teeth, it’s good to gently scrub your mouth guard with toothpaste. Keep it protected and avoid chewing on it. Make sure to keep it out of hot water or the sun to prevent it from melting or becoming deformed. Replace your mouth guard if it doesn’t fit properly before the beginning of a new sports season. Lastly, never allow anyone else to wear your mouth guard.