Play Sports? Don't Forget This Essential Piece of Athletic Gear
When it comes to oral protection, mouthguards are an essential piece of athletic gear. Mouthguards help buffer impact to the mouth and minimize the risk of broken teeth or oral injuries to the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Many experts recommend that a mouthguard be worn for any athletic activity—not just contact sports that pose higher risk of injury to the mouth.
There are three basic types of mouthguards:
- Stock mouthguards come pre-formed and ready to use. They are generally the least expensive but aren’t particularly comfortable and do not have a custom fit.
- Boil and bite mouthguards are made from a plastic material that is dipped or soaked in boiling water to soften. The guard is then placed in the mouth and bitten into, molding to the shape of the teeth for a semi-custom fit.
- Custom mouthguards offer the best protection for teeth and are made by your dentist from molds of your own teeth. They are the most secure and comfortable since they are individually form-fitted.
Although most mouthguards only cover the upper teeth, your dentist may suggest that you use a mouthguard on the lower teeth if you have braces. Talk to your dentist about selecting a mouthguard that will provide the right protection for your sport.