A mouthguard is typically a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. Typically injuries that mouthguards protect against are chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, fractured jaws, and concussions.
Whether you are a child or an adult, mouthguards are essential for all athletes. This isn’t limited to contact sports, non-contact sports such as gymnastics and skating also require mouthpiece protection.
Which type of mouthguard is best?
The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for you, by your dentist or orthodontist. However, this option is slightly more expensive, and if you have a habit of losing mouthguards one of the store-bought options below may be preferred.
For children, these guards typically last for one to two years before needing to be remoulded to suit their jaw. For children, these guards typically last for one to two years before needing to be remoulded to suit their jaw.
Boil and bite style mouthguards can be found at many sports stores and offer a better fit than standard stock mouthpieces. Boil and Bite guards are first softened in boiling water and then inserted into your mouth to be moulded and shaped for fit. Generally, these mouth guards last approximately two to three sport seasons and the plastic breaks down due to its pliable nature.
Standard or Stock mouthguards are the inexpensive and pre-formed model ready for wear. Due to the lack of quality, these guards rarely fit well as they are bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
Mouthguards for your braces
If you have braces and play sport, having a properly fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth and fixed bridge work is extremely important. A hard hit to face can damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. Furthermore, mouthguards can act as a protective barrier between the cheeks, lips, and gums and the metal wiring of the brace.
If an incident does occur to a player who has braces, they may need expensive treatment to repair the braces and fix any damage done to the teeth. However, this risk is lowered by using a custom made mouthguard.
If you have recently had your braces removed and now use a retainer or other removable appliance, ensure you have removed it when playing sport.
When does a mouthguard need replacing?
You will need to talk to your dental care professional as to when it is best to replace your guard. However, if you notice any signs of wear, damage or ill-fitting, the mouthpiece will need replacing immediately. When compared to adults, children and teens generally need to replace their mouthguards more often due to their mouth and face shape continuing to grow and change.
To make the most out of your mouthguard, you will need to provide continual maintenance. The following tips can help keep your guard in clean and working condition.
- A mouthguard needs to be kept clean and dry between each use.
- Rinse before and after each use and brush the appliance using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and then rinse thoroughly.
- Store in a sturdy container with vents to keep the guard dry and to prevent bacteria growth.
During your regular checkups with your dentist or orthodontist and bring in your mouthguard for an evaluation. Many dentists also offer a thorough cleaning of your mouthguard if you bring it in during a checkup.
If you are unsure about which mouthguard would suit your braces speak to one of our orthodontics experts next time you are in the clinic. Otherwise, you can call us on (07) 3349 5266.