Mouthguards are a good way to protect your teeth, jaw, and head when playing physical sports. At Palmerston Dental Surgery we make custom-made guards that typically offer the best protection.
Dental-related injuries are some of the most common experienced by athletes, according to the Australian Society of Orthodontists. They also claim that just a third of children aged 5-17 wear mouthguards while playing sports. Mouthguards are commonly used to protect the teeth from damage during physical activity. Here’s more about whether or not you should wear one, how it can help and how you can get the right one for you.
Should you wear a mouthguard?
If you play any kind of physical sport that may involve injuries – such as rugby, netball or football – you should consider wearing a mouthguard. It acts like a helmet for your teeth, and also works to protect your jaw by absorbing the shock of any physical impacts. By proxy, the mouthguard can also offer support to the head and brain in case you get hit in the jaw even if you’re wearing a helmet, which is why you usually see boxers wearing mouthguards.
Many teenagers play sports and also wear braces for orthodontic treatment. It is still entirely possible to wear a mouthguard over the braces and is actually very important to protect both your teeth and the braces themselves.
What kinds of mouthguards are there?
There are three types of mouthguards you can wear to protect your teeth.
The simplest form is the type of mouthguard you can find at a supermarket or from a chemist. They are pre-formed and ready to wear as soon as you take them out of the packet. While this option is affordable, convenient and quick, they often don’t fit well at all and can make it difficult to talk and breathe.
A slightly better type of mouthguard is known as the ‘boil-and-bite’. In this case, you purchase it from a store and while it already has a shape, you can boil it to soften the material, then bite it to form a mold of your own teeth and mouth. They are a better alternative to the basic pre-formed guard type, although will not always work perfectly for everyone.
The best type of mouthguard is one that’s created as a custom fit for your mouth. As they are built with a mold from your teeth, they are the best fitting and therefore offer the best protection. They do cost more than what you would buy in a store, but they are the preferred option for athletes who want the best for their teeth. Custom-made mouthguards are available at your dental practice.
Note that mouthguards do not last forever, as regular use will wear them down. If you wear one, you may need to replace it every 6-12 months depending on use.