Everything you need to know about sports mouthguards
What are mouthguards?
Mouthguards are made out of soft, flexible and rubber-like material. Athletes participating in contact sports wear them to protect their teeth and gum.
Types of Mouthguards
- Stock mouth guards from sporting goods stores and departmental stores. These are pre-formed and come in different sizes. They are bulky and little can be done to adjust their fit. Since they do not fit over the teeth properly, they provide no protection to the teeth during impact.
- Boil and bite mouth guards are also available from sporting goods stores and departmental stores. The thermoplastic sheet is softened in hot water. It is then placed in the mouth and shaping and moulding around the teeth is achieved with finger and tongue pressures.
- Custom-made mouth guards are made by dentists. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth using some putty material. Your dentist will advise on the type of mouthguard best suited for your sport to give you the maximum protection. There are different types and thicknesses of material that your dentist can choose from. These custom-made mouthguards provide the best fit and protection for your teeth. A properly constructed mouth guard should be comfortable to wear, tear resistant, durable, and should not restrict your breathing.
Mouthguards for young children
Young children participating in contact sports in school or sport clubs will need to wear mouthguards to protect their teeth. Children’s teeth are growing and their jaw size is changing very rapidly. As such, they will need a new one very often. Parents should check the fit of their mouthguards regularly to ensure they receive the protection from their current guard.
Do I need one if I have braces?
You will need to wear a mouthguard to protect your “loose” teeth and to prevent the brackets from lacerating your lips in the event of even a gentle knock to your mouth.