Why You Need a Mouth Guard When Playing Sports

For many parents, cheering their children on from the sidelines is a favorite pastime. At My Dental Clinic, we’re excited to see your children be active and have fun playing sports as well. However, we can’t help but think about the safety of their teeth! Sports are well known to be a hobby that comes with the risk of injury. Even in non-contact sports such as track or gymnastics, it’s possible to sustain an injury to the mouth just by a misstep or a fall. Fortunately, these injuries are preventable. Just as athletes wear knee pads or shin guards, mouth guards should be a part of their equipment to protect their smiles.

The Importance of a Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is an oral appliance custom-made to fit athletes. It is designed to protect teeth, including any orthodontic appliances, from damage during sports. It is meant to fit snugly against the teeth and orthodontics to offer a layer of protection to absorb impact. Mouth guards are a critical piece of equipment when playing sports – they are the only way to ensure the safety of the teeth and orthodontics, either by preventing injuries altogether or minimizing the damage.

Types of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are made of a soft plastic or laminate and come in three different types, each in a different price range and providing a different level of protection.

  • Stock: The most inexpensive option, these mouth guards come preformed and ready to wear. The drawback to the affordability is that, because they are premade, they usually don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and make it difficult for the wearer to talk or breathe.
  • Boil and bite: This type of mouth guard allows some customization. It requires the material to be boiled first, causing it to soften, then (after some cooling) biting down on it to shape it around the teeth. These are slightly more expensive than stock mouth guards but offer a better fit.
  • Custom-fitted: These mouth guards are made in a dentist office (or a professional laboratory) and, though they come in as the most expensive option, they provide the best fit and protection, and are the highest recommended.