Mouthguards also minimize lacerated and bruised lips and cheeks by keeping these soft tissue areas away from the teeth. This is especially true for youngsters with orthodontic braces. The mouth is the most injured area of the body during contact sports. Wearing mouthguards is highly recommended for those participating in boxing, basketball, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, soccer, wrestling, water polo and rugby.
The American Dental Association recommends that mouthguards be used by those partaking in acrobatics, gymnastics, volleyball, handball, racquetball, skiing, skydiving, squash, surfing, weightlifting, shot putting and discus throwing. Participants in recreational activities such as skateboarding and bicycling should wear mouthguards, especially in competition.
An effective mouthguard should remain in place during the activity while not interfering with speech or breathing. It should provide maximum protection while being comfortable to wear. There are three types of mouthguards:
• Stock (ready-made): Most sports stores carry these. They are the least expensive. Available in various sizes and shapes, they cannot be adjusted to fit your mouth.
• Mouth-formed (“boil and bite”): These are relatively inexpensive. The plastic mouthguard shell is boiled in water for 10 to 45 seconds, cooled under tap water and molded and adapted directly in the mouth. Compared to custom-made guards, the fit is not as accurate, and it might not last as long.
• Custom: This type is highly recommended and the most effective. We make them at our dental office from a cast of your teeth. While they’re a bit more expensive than the store-bought variety, they provide the greatest protection and comfort. We know it’s well worth your safety and peace of mind.
Like any other sports gear, mouthguards can wear out and lose their effectiveness and might need to be replaced after each sports season – although proper care will increase their longevity. Heat is bad for mouthguards, because it causes them to deform. Keep them out of direct sunlight and never leave them in a closed car. Rinse them under cold water with each use, and occasionally use soap and cold water to clean them. When not in use, store your mouthguard in a well-ventilated plastic box or in a container immersed in water. Don’t handle or try to wear someone else’s mouthguard.
– Courtesy of DentalSenders