Mouth Guards: What Are They and Their Benefits

a dentist at tri city dental holds a mouth guard and shows the patient

Chewing guards, also known as mouth guards, are plastic or hard rubber devices that help reduce the risk of damage that might be caused to your teeth and gums by biting on various kinds of hard materials. The word mouth guard might sound a bit daunting, but no doubt, using a mouth guard can benefit both adults and children in different ways.

Mouth guards protect the teeth and mouth from trauma during contact sports. Mouth guards also help absorb impact during falls, collisions, and other accidents. The devices come in many forms β€” from a simple piece of soft material that you mold yourself to a custom-fitted plastic appliance made by your dentist. Each type of mouth guard offers different levels of protection and comfort.

Who Is a Candidate for Mouth Guards?

Anyone who participates in contact sports can benefit from using a mouth guard. Athletes at all skill levels should wear one while playing any sport that involves contact, such as football, basketball, hockey, or soccer. Additionally, anyone who has experienced dental injuries or has bruxism may find that using a mouth guard helps prevent future injuries.

Types of Mouth Guards 

There are various types of mouth guards you can choose from depending on your needs. The type you choose will depend on how long you plan to wear the mouth guard and what kind of activity you will be doing while wearing it.

Custom Fitted  

Custom-fitted mouth guards are more expensive than stock mouth guards because they are individually designed for each person’s unique dental structure. Custom mouth guards should be made by a dentist or a trained dental technician since they require special training in oral anatomy and dentistry and specific tools to make these appliances correctly.

This appliance is molded directly against your teeth by your dentist or orthodontist. These appliances offer superior protection but require an initial visit to the dentist’s office and may not be appropriate for younger children who play contact sports (because they may not want to wear something so “uncomfortable” all the time).

Mouth Formed Mouth Guards

Mouth-formed mouth guards are available at most drug stores and sports stores. These generic mouth guards are not custom fit for your teeth but can be adjusted for comfort using boiling water or hot air from a hairdryer. These mouth guards may be used for a few hours at a time but cannot be worn overnight or while eating or drinking. They are affordable and easy to use, though they don’t fit perfectly into your mouth, so they may not provide the same level of protection as other options.

Stock Mouth Protectors

You can purchase stock mouth protectors in most drugstores or sporting goods. These inexpensive devices offer basic protection against injury but do not provide optimal fit or comfort. They are made from plastic or silicone material, making them more difficult to clean than custom-fitted models. They are not as effective at preventing damage to teeth or the jaw joint compared with other types of mouth guards. 

In addition, they are not designed specifically for each athlete’s needs and cannot be customized to accommodate unique features like braces or missing teeth. This type of mouth guard provides good protection against injury but may not be comfortable enough for long-term use or fit well with any changes to your teeth or gums.

Benefits of Using Mouth Guards

There are many benefits to using a mouth guard. Mouth guards can help prevent serious injuries while also easing pain and discomfort.

Protect Teeth Against Injury 

A properly fitted mouth guard will help protect your teeth against injury by absorbing and spreading impact forces throughout its entire structure, which may help prevent damage to surrounding teeth, lips, and gums from occurring during an impact or fall.

How to Care For Your Mouth Guard

Clean your mouth guard regularly with soap and water or a denture cleaning solution. Never boil or microwave it since this may damage its structure.  Rinse it thoroughly after using cold water, and then store it in a clean place where dust won’t settle on it. It would be best to inspect your mouth guard regularly for signs of wear and tear.

The mouth guard is the most important device for your teeth. A custom-fitted mouth guard is a widely recommended choice and option to protect your teeth and gums during sporting activities like football and basketball. Book your consultation today and get firsthand information from certified experts about this mouth device.

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