Did you know about five million teeth are knocked out during sports? According to the American Dental Association athletes that play sports are at an increased risk of losing their teeth and getting other injuries. ADA recommends wearing sports guards when playing sports to shield your teeth from injuries. It is reported that people who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 percent more likely to get injuries than those who wear them. A mouthguard can prevent about 200,000 mouth injuries each year.
What Are Mouthguards?
A mouthguard is a soft plastic device that covers and protects your teeth, gums, and cheeks from injuries from sports or teeth grinding.
Why Are Mouthguards Important?
According to the ADA, a third of all dental injuries are sports related. Accidents are common during any physical activity, especially direct and contact sports. Wearing a mouthguard when playing sports is important in preventing certain dental problems such as:
- Prevents soft tissue injuries
Soft tissues are found in the cheeks, tongue, lips, and gums. When these tissues are bruised, mouth bleeding may occur. Our mouths can stop mild to moderate bleeding. However, you can also use a gauze pad to stop the bleeding.
Wearing a mouth guard shields the mouth from any injury that can cause bleeding or damage.
- Protects the teeth
When your teeth come in contact with a ball or you fall, your teeth may get fractured or knocked out. Avulsed teeth can pose the risk of losing your natural teeth if treatment is not started on time. Remember, once you lose your permanent teeth, they don’t grow back and you’ll have gaps in between. These are not only unattractive but can affect your jaw and teeth too.
A mouthguard can shield the teeth from direct blows.
- Shields the teeth from wearing down
Bruxism is the unconscious grinding and clenching of the teeth that occurs mostly at night. Teeth grinding can cause teeth and jaw pain, and sore gums. Furthermore, it causes the teeth to wear down, which causes sensitivity and tooth damage. A mouthguard can shield the teeth from grinding when you are sleeping. Although a mouthguard can prevent wearing down of the teeth, it is important to seek other forms of treatment to address the root cause of bruxism.
- Reduces snoring
Mouthguards can also be used to manage sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a temporary stop in breathing when sleeping. This causes excessive snoring. A mouthguard helps to push the lower jaw and tongue forward, thereby keeping the airway open.
What Are the Available Types?
Mouthguards come in different versions:
- Stock mouthguards
Stock mouthguards are the common type. They can be found in drug and sport-related stores. These mouthguards come in different sizes; small, medium, and large sizes.
These mouthguards are inexpensive and readily available, but they do not provide a precise fit. They are hard and at times can make it hard for you to talk while wearing them. These mouthguards are not suitable for managing bruxism.
- Boil-and-bite mouthguards
Boil-and-bite mouthguards are also common and inexpensive. However, they have the one-size-fits-all feature. These mouthguards involve boiling to soften the mouthguards and make them easy to fit over the teeth.
They provide a better fit than the stock mouthguards but still are not customized to fit your teeth and gums.
- Customized mouthguards
Custom-made mouthguards are created at the dental office following your precise dental structure. These provide a better fit than the other types, which makes them more comfortable. These mouthguards are recommended for people who suffer from bruxism, sleep apnea or snoring. They are, however, more expensive than the other versions.
How Can You Care for the Mouthguards?
Here are a few tips to care for your mouthguards:
- Rinse the mouth protectors with a mouth rinse of cold water
- Store the mouthguards in a perforated container to keep them fresh.
- Don’t leave the protectors in direct sunlight, hot surfaces, or hot water
- Carry the mouthguards when you come to see the dentist for regular assessment.
Schedule an Appointment
Visit Dental Care South for more information about mouthguards.