Sports can do a lot of damage to your smile, even if you don’t wear braces. If you sustain an injury to your mouth or jaw, like many athletes do, then your smile could be severely damaged, requiring various expensive treatments to repair it. However, a mouthguard can help keep your teeth and gums safe, regardless of what kind of sports you participate in. If you play any form of contact sport regularly, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
Types of Mouthguards
Making sure to wear the right mouthguard is extremely important. There are three kinds of mouthguards generally available: pre-made mouthguards, “boil-and-bite” mouthguards, and custom-made mouthguards. Pre-made guards are cheaper and readily available commercially, but they won’t fit your mouth particularly well, given that they are mass-produced. It is possible you may find one to fit you, however. “Boil-and-bite” mouthguards, meanwhile, are still mass-produced, but are fitted to your teeth by being boiled before you bite down on them, causing them to match your teeth. These are also commercially available. Custom mouthguards, meanwhile, are generally the strongest and will best fit your mouth, but they are the most expensive and are usually only available from your dentist. In choosing a mouthguard, it is important to make sure that it is well-fitted, tear-resistant, and does not hinder your breathing.
Caring for Your Mouthguard
To make sure your mouthguard is protecting your teeth, be sure to take good care of it. You can keep your mouthguard in pristine condition by:
- Gently scrubbing your mouthguard with toothpaste after each use
- Making sure to bring your mouthguard to every dental checkup, so we can check to see if it’s in good condition.
- Not chewing gum
- Not cutting pieces off your mouthguard
- Not letting your mouthguard sit in hot water or in the sun, which can deform it and cause it to melt
- Not wearing a retainer with your mouthguard (instead, we’ll design a mouthguard that protects both your teeth and your braces)
- Replacing your mouthguard at the start of every sports season
- Replacing your mouthguard if it no longer fits properly or becomes worn
- Storing your mouthguard in a protective case