A sports mouth guard is a device that protects your teeth from traumatic injury during collisions, falls, etc. It can help you prevent injuries to your teeth lips, gums, tongue and other areas of your mouth while playing your favorite sports.
A good sports mouth guard can be purchased these days for as little as about $50. With the possible costs of tooth replacement or repair running into the hundreds or thousands of dollars, purchasing a mouthguard for a few tens of dollars can prove to be one of the most cost effective investments you make.
Most sports mouth guards can help prevent injuries to the upper teeth, gums, etc. from collisions with other athletes, from falls or from being hit by flying objects. However, there are also specially designed mouth guards (such as the Shock Doctor Braces Mouthguard / Strapless) that can protect orthodontic appliances the athlete may be wearing on the upper or lower jaw.
A sports mouth guard can help to protect against many types of traumatic oral or lingual injuries. There is also some speculation that they can also help to reduce the risk of a concussion arising from a blow to the lower face. However, it should be noted that, there is no scientific evidence to date to support this contention
A sports mouth guard should be distinguished from the one you purchase from a dentist to deal with the problem of grinding your teeth at night. If you are looking for a mouth guard to wear at night, we do not recommend using a sports mouth guard. It is safer and more effective to use one designed for the purpose of protecting your teeth from grinding that occurs while sleeping.
If you are looking for a sports mouth guard, we suggest choosing one that is free of latex, BPA and Phthalates to ensure optimum long term safety. Test the fit carefully to ensure that it is as comfortable as possible and that the mouth guard does not interfere with your breathing.
It is also important to change your mouthguard once it starts to wear out. As a general rule, we suggest doing this at the start of each playing season. However, if you are at an age at which you are growing rapidly (e.g. a teenager) you should get professional dental guidance on this question.
Types Of Sports Mouth Guard
There are 3 types of sports mouth guard that you can buy:
Custom made mouthguards are made in a dental office or laboratory to fit your unique facial contours. A dentist makes an impression of your teeth and then uses it to build a custom fit mouthguard for you. This is the most costly type of mouthguard available. However, it is also the most comfortable.
Boil & Bite mouthguards are purchased in a pre formed and standard shape. However, you can then alter them to fit more closely to the shape of your jaw and teeth. To do this, you boil the mouthguard and then bite into the warm and (now pliable) plastic.
This is the main type of mouthguard available on this website. Boil & bite mouthguards are generally less expensive than the custom mouthguards described above, but costlier than the stock ones below. Where comfort is concerned, they are also in between the other 2 alternatives.
Stock mouthguards come in a pre formed shape that you cannot alter. This is the cheapest type available but also presents the most significant potential challenges in terms of fit and breathing/speaking comfort.
For Which Sports Should I Use A Mouthguard?
The sports for which a mouth guard can be beneficial fall into four categories:
First, there are contact sports in which the athlete is always at risk of colliding with other participants. When this happens, there is a risk of tooth, tongue and other injuries being sustained from the other players’ stray hand, elbow, etc. Sports in this category include football, soccer and basketball;
Secord, there are combat sports in which the participants exchange punches and kicks as part of the normal process of competition. As some of these blows are directed to the face, mouthguards can clearly play an important role in injury prevention. Sports in this category include boxing, kick boxing and martial arts (karate, judo, etc);
Third, there are sports in which falling due to lost balance (as opposed to colliding with an opponent) is a constant threat. In this category would fall cycling, skateboarding, skiing, gymnastics, volleyball etc;
Finally, dental injuries can be sustained from flying projectiles such as balls, pucks, etc. or from collisions with fixtures in or around the arena. The sports for which this is a pertinent consideration include cricket, baseball, lacrosse and others.
Please note that the sports listed above in each category should not be regarded as exhaustive.
In addition, some sports fall into more than one category, e.g. soccer players can suffer oral injuries from colliding with the goalposts or from falling.