Protecting Your Teeth
There are a few reasons why you should wear a mouth guard.
One of the more widespread reasons is to care for your teeth while playing contact sports such as boxing, football, soccer, hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. A mouth guard is also important for some non-contact sports; including gymnastics, skateboarding, and cycling. Another reason is for those who grind their teeth while asleep.
Since accidents may transpire while enjoying any physical action, using a mouth guard helps to protect against injuries to your jaw, lips, and tongue, or any other soft tissues in your mouth. It will also help you evade chipped or broken teeth, and tooth loss.
Mouth Guard Options
There are three types of mouth guards to choose from: stock mouth protectors, boil and bite mouth protectors, and a custom-fit mouth protector.
- Stock Mouth Protectors are preformed and ready to wear right out of the package. These guards are very economical and are able to be purchased at most department stores. Unfortunately though, they cannot be adjusted very well and sometimes make breathing or talking complicated. They also provide very little protection.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Protectors are also obtainable at department stores and provide a better fit than the stock mouth protectors. These mouth guards create a tailored fit by being placed in hot water to soften the material. It is then placed in the mouth and formed around the teeth using fingers and tongue pressure.
- Custom-fit Mouth Protectors are created by your dentist or another professional in a laboratory. These are produced when your dentist creates an impression of your teeth and then molds the mouth guard using the impression.
Usually a mouth guard only covers your upper teeth, but in some cases, it may cover the bottom teeth as well. Your dentist will help you choose a mouth guard that is right for you. An efficient mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, and allow you to breathe and speak easily.
Taking Care of Your Mouth Guard
Once you have purchased a mouth guard, it’s important to take care of it.
- Rinse your mouth guard with cold water or a mouth wash before and after each use. You may also clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Clean the mouth guard in cold, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly once a week.
- Keep the mouth guard in a perforated container for storage.
- Protect the mouth guard from high temperatures because hot temperatures may distort its shape.
- Check the mouth guard occasionally for general wear.