Mouthguards - Keeping Your Smile Safe

Losing your two front baby teeth can be cute when you’re a child, but it might not be as attractive when you are older.   The loss of your front teeth can also make everyday actions extremely difficult.  You might struggle with your speech or be embarrassed to smile. You probably wouldn’t have much luck eating an apple either.  We often don’t realize just how important our teeth are, until we have to consider what life would be like if we had to function without them.

Active teen and adults often experience injuries while competing, training or playing their favorite sport.  Injuries can happen to any part of the body, including your teeth, cheeks, lip and tongue.  Just as shin guards or a baseball glove protect your body during recreational activity, a properly fitted mouth guard protects your teeth and smile from intense contact as well.  For most athletes, a mouthguard is a necessary piece of equipment—even if you’re already wearing a helmet or face mask.  Experts recommend that a mouth guard be worn for any recreational activity that poses a threat of injury to your mouth including head-to-head contact, hazardous falls, tooth clenching or blows to the head.

Types of Mouthguards
Mouthguards can be tailored for different degrees of protection and vary by price.  Typically, a mouthguard covers only the upper teeth, but depending on your jaw type, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard that covers your lower teeth as well.  

There are three main types of mouthguards:

  • Ready-made mouthguards
  • Mouth-formed (“boil-and-bite”) mouthguards
  • Custom-made mouthguards made by your dentist

The most effective mouthguard should fit properly, be durable, comfortable, easy to clean and not restrict your speech or breathing.  Ask your dentist what type of mouthguard is best for you.

Cleaning and Care for your Mouthguard
It is important to rinse your mouthguard with cold water or with an antiseptic mouth rinse before and after each use.  You may also clean your mouthguard with toothpaste and a toothbrush.  

When it comes to caring for your mouthguard, be sure to avoid putting in in contact with high temperatures so that the mouthguard is not distorted in shape.  Also check for holes and tears in your mouthguard.  Any sort of distortion can affect the level of protection it provides.  Have your dentist check your mouthguard at each dental visit in order to ensure that it is providing full protection to your smile.

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