How Mouthguards Protect Your Teeth

posted by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 8/3/2023 in General

man on athletic field breathing heavily with blue mouthguard

Warm summer weather is the perfect time to go outside and enjoy your favorite games and sports. However, as you and your family stay active during the summer, it’s important to keep in mind the health of your teeth. Collisions and injuries can lead to teeth being broken or even knocked out. 

Thankfully, the use of a sports mouthguard will help protect you and your children’s teeth from a dental emergency while being active. Learn what mouthguards are, why they are important, and how your dentist can help you find the right one.

What Are Mouthguards?

Mouthguards are protective dental appliances that cover your teeth to prevent or reduce damage to your teeth and mouth. They are usually made of rubber or plastic. In most cases, mouthguards cover your top teeth, but depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard for your bottom teeth as well.

Common Reasons To Wear Mouthguards

There are many reasons to protect your teeth with a mouthguard. Mouthguards are commonly used in contact sports such as football, basketball, and soccer. Other activities such as martial arts, gymnastics, biking, and skateboarding are much safer when wearing a mouthguard. Using a mouthguard to prevent wear and tear from nighttime teeth grinding is also common.

Why Are Mouthguards Important?

Protecting your teeth from sports-related injuries is very important. After all, 40% of all dental injuries in the United States are caused by sports. Many contact sports risk damage to your teeth, mouth, and jaw. This includes:

Mouthguards act as a cushion between your face and the collision, reducing the amount of force acting on your teeth and protecting your tongue and gum tissue. By making sure you and your children wear mouthguards when participating in high-intensity activity, you are working to protect their dental health and prevent long-term damage.

Types of Mouthguards

If you’re looking to buy a mouthguard, there are two common types you can consider.

Store-Bought Mouthguards

Mouthguards are sold in many pharmacies and sporting goods stores. These are available in two forms: stock, which are worn right out of the package, and boil-and-bite, which soften when heated up to shape around your teeth. These mouthguards are usually cheaper, but less effective than a mouthguard designed specifically for you.

Custom-Made Mouthguards

A dentist can make a custom mouthguard to fit your specific dental needs. Your dentist may use plaster to make a mold of your teeth, or they may use a digital scanner to create a virtual replica of your mouth. Because they’re made with special material and designed for your teeth, these mouthguards are usually more comfortable and effective than store-bought alternatives. Custom-made mouthguards also last longer than store-bought mouthguards, which typically need to be replaced at least once a year.

How To Care for Mouthguards

It’s important to properly care for and clean your mouthguard. Make sure to store your mouthguard in its case, out of reach of pets when you’re not wearing it. Use cold water, dish soap, and a brush to clean after each use and air-dry. If you feel your mouthguard needs a deeper clean, use an over-the-counter denture cleaning solution. Make sure to avoid high temperatures, including sunlight and hot water, as this can warp your mouthguard and make it uncomfortable to wear.

How Do I Get a Mouthguard?

Regardless of the type of mouthguard, always discuss with your dentist to confirm you’re getting the best option for you or your family. For a custom mouthguard, schedule an appointment or ask at your next dental check-up. If you’re looking to get a store-bought mouthguard, your dentist may also be able to suggest brands they recommend.

Schedule an Appointment With Kimball & Beecher

If you’re looking to talk to a dental professional about getting a mouthguard, schedule an appointment with an expert at Kimball & Beecher. Our dentists provide a variety of pediatric services, including custom mouthguards, based on your preferences, needs, and budget. Contact us today to learn more!

About The Author

Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS

Dr. Beau Beecher is the founder and CEO, of Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry. Kimball and Beecher Family Dentistry is known for being a patient-centered practice that puts comfort and convenience first. Over 50,000 patients in Iowa cities travel miles to experience the high level of ... read more

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