Sports guards, mouth guards, and mouth protectors are all devices made to protect your teeth. Sport mouth guards are worn over the teeth to shield them from hits to the face and head. Mouth guards are an essential piece of athletic gear for anybody taking an interest in a sport that includes intense physical contact. This includes football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, acrobatic, mountain biking, or any action that may result in damage to the mouth.
Mouth guards commonly cover the upper teeth and are intended to ensure against broken teeth, slice lips and other harm to your mouth. If you wear braces or other dental prosthetic, your dentist may recommend you wear protection on your lower jaw as well.
Different Types of Sports of Mouth Guards
Regardless of which sort of mouth guard you use, it should to be versatile, durable and comfortable. It should fit comfortably and not constrict your breathing or speech. The most common types of mouth guards include:
Custom Mouth Guards
These customized devices are obtained from your dental professional and provide the most protection and the best fit. They are fabricated from a precise impression of your mouth and made in a professional lab to ensure quality. Most athletes prefer these personalized guards, but they can be more expensive than the other options.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
You can purchase these guards pre-fabricated and they can be modified by heating in water, then biting into the warm plastic to create a customized fit. They can be purchased at many sporting goods stores and may offer a superior fit than a stock mouth guard.
Stock Mouth Guards
These are less expensive and come ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit well, causing issues with breathing and talking. However, they are better than going without any protection at all.
Lifespan of Sports Mouth Guards
Mouth guards should be replaced with a new device after each season since they can wear down and become less effective. This is particularly important for teenagers because ongoing development will change the structure of their mouth. It is a good idea to have your teen’s mouth guard checked during their regular dental exams and replaced more often if needed.
Reasons for Using Sports Mouth Guards
Mouth guards provide critical protection to the teeth, cheeks, tongue, and jaw. A good quality mouth guard will help prevent chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, and jaw damage.
Mouth guards are required for high-impact sports, like football, hockey, and boxing. These contact sports have a much higher risk of injury so it is a good idea to take advantage of all available safety gear. Children and adults that participate in games like basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer, and volleyball should also wear a mouth guard to avoid injuries.
A good quality mouth guard will help absorb shock and provide stability to the head and neck. This added protection can help reduce the risk of concussion from a direct hit to the jaw. The thickness of the mouth guard material is also an important factor, so be sure to consult with a your dentist for expert advice about which product to choose for your circumstances.