If you’re an athlete at any level or have kids that are playing sports, a mouthguard should be a major consideration when it comes to choosing equipment. Any level of contact sport or activities like biking or skateboarding put your teeth at risk of damage. This means if you would normally wear a helmet, you should look to a mouthguard for protection as well.
Dental emergencies are no fun, and the resulting dental work can be expensive. That’s why it’s much better to invest in a mouthguard and hopefully skip the trip to the dentist or emergency room.
Here’s a rundown on what you need to know about mouthguards for sport:
These days, some organized sports leagues require you to wear a mouthguard, just like they do a helmet. The reason is you’re more likely to pick up an injury if you don’t and nobody wants that.
A mouthguard is a simple tool to put a protective later over the top row of your teeth and reduce the risk of injuries like broken or knocked out teeth. Mouthguards even lower the likelihood or severity of concussions by absorbing a lot of the shock that is often created when teeth clamp together after a direct or jarring impact. Most sports move quickly, and a high tackle, errant elbow or flying puck can easily do damage to your teeth if they aren’t properly protected.
Mouthguards are normally only worn on the top row of teeth because that’s where the majority of injuries occur. Only wearing one on top will be much more comfortable, letting you breath and speak far more easily. However, if you wear braces or have another dental appliance on your bottom row of teeth, a lower mouthguard may be recommended. Likewise, sports like boxing require upper and lower guards for proper protection.
While there are mouthguards available at most sport stores like Canadian Tire or Sport Check, these will be of the “stock” or “heat and bite” variety. These mouthguards don’t offer the best fit or protection and will wear down quickly. We recommend visiting your dentist to have an impression mold made of your teeth, from which a custom-made mouthguard can be created. Not only will these mouthguards fit perfectly (not too lose or too tight), they’ll also be lighter and more durable because they are made specifically for your mouth using better materials. If you play a lot of sports and will be wearing a mouthguard frequently, a custom mouthguard is a great investment.
You probably know this already, but your mouthguard will be full of bacteria after use. The last thing you want is to put it away in a dark, confined place (like your sports bag) while it’s moist and allow microorganisms to flourish. You need to be in the habit of cleaning your guard after every use by brushing it with a soft toothbrush letting it dry before storing it away. You’ll want to use an antibacterial spray or soap to get it squeaky clean, so you don’t get sick from it being filled with bacteria.
Mouthguards might seem tough but they’re really not. There’s a lot of strain put on them during physical exertion as you’ll be biting down quite strongly. Lots of athletes remove them while on the bench too and will tear them up by chewing on them. If your guard is showing signs of wear or it’s fit is getting loose, you should have it replaced so you’ll be properly protected.
The cheaper style of stock, store bought mouthguards just aren’t on par with a custom-made device. The material is lower quality, and the fit won’t be as good. Not only will the guard be uncomfortable to wear, the protection it offers will be less and it will wear out faster. If you use a guard a lot, it’s recommended to invest in a custom-fitted mouthguard.
It’s easy to get fitted and have a custom mouthguard made up for you. Simply tell your dentist or hygienist what you’re looking for and they’ll know what to do. The process is quick, painless and it’s actually quite affordable. Contact your nearest dental office location and book an appointment with us and we’ll sort you out.
Please contact us for all inquiries or to book an appointment with one of our convenient clinic locations. We look forward to hearing from you.