Mouthguards, also known as mouth protectors, are worn to help minimize the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw. Mouthguards are worn over the upper teeth, which is an excellent way to protect the soft tissues of the tongue, lips, and cheek lining.
Most mouthguards are worn by athletes because they’re most at risk of receiving a blow to their front teeth. The front teeth would be the first to fall off because they stick out more than the other teeth. The lower teeth have a little more of a safety cushion since they are slightly further back.
For those who wear braces or have fixed bridge work, mouthguards are essential for preventing injuries to the gums and cheeks because they provide a barrier between the braces and the cheeks and/or lips.
Mouthguards should be worn by all athletes as early as possible. Sports like boxing, football, and mixed martial arts are all collision and contact sports, which puts those involved at a higher risk of experiencing a dental injury. Other sports, such as ice skating and gymnastics, also puts those involved at risk of losing their teeth, even though they’re considered to be non-contact activities.
Studies show that football, hockey, and basketball all result in a high number of dental injuries. However, according to the American Dental Association, basketball causes the most dental injuries in male and female athletes.
The most recommended mouthguard is one that has been designed to fit one’s mouth by their dentist. These types of mouthguards are created for fit and comfort. If a custom-made mouthguard is too expensive, then individuals can still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard, which can both be bought at a local drugstore.
A stock mouthguard is typically not expensive and comes ready to wear. The disadvantage is that they don’t fit well. For some individuals, they may fit bulkily, making breathing and talking difficult. Boil-and-bite mouthguards often offer a better fit than stock mouthguards because they have to be boiled in water first, and then they’re placed in the mouth to adapt to its shape.
Over time, mouthguards can get worn down, which is why it’s important for an individual to check with their dentist to determine when they should be replaced. Children and teenagers will have to replace their mouthguards more frequently since their mouths are constantly changing. To avoid replacing one’s mouthguard unnecessarily, knowing how to maintain it will help it remain long-lasting. Athletes should:
At McBride Dental, we offer general and family dentistry, which includes a variety of dental treatments designed to help one maintain optimal oral health. We offer services for both children and adults, which include X-rays, deep cleanings, bridges or implant treatment, and more. For athletes who have mouthguards or are interested in mouthguards, we can either clean the existing ones or custom make new ones. If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a dentist office, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment with us today.