Most people understand that sports such as lacrosse, hockey or football and other high-impact activities can result in damage to a person’s teeth or mouth. In fact, depending on the activity, many school district and recreation leagues may mandate the use of a mouth guard. But the truth is that there many sports or activities in which it would be wise to use a sports mouth guard.
Who should wear a mouth guard?
If you or your child plays any sport in which there is a risk of trauma to the mouth, a mouth guard is a good idea. Those sports may include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Field hockey
- Weight Lifting
People who wear braces or fixed retainers should also wear mouth guards during sports or recreation. Remember, if there is any chance of damage to your mouth or teeth, talk to our dentists.
What type of mouth guard should I use?
There are three basic types of mouthguards: stock, boil and bite, and custom.
- Stock: These can be purchased at any sporting goods or retail store. You simply pick a mouth guard that will fit your smile. They are not expensive, but they also provide the least amount of protection.
- Boil and Bite: These can also be purchased over the counter. This type of mouth guard is placed in boiling water to soften it and when it has sufficiently cooled, you bite into it so that it will conform to your teeth. Boil and bite mouth guards provide more protection than stock mouth guards.
- Custom: Custom mouth guards are made by a dentist from impressions of your teeth to create an exact fit for your smile. They provide the greatest amount of protection and are a worthwhile investment for any athlete or recreational enthusiast.
Caring for your mouthguard
No matter which type of sports mouth guard you choose, you should take as much care of it as any other piece of equipment. Follow the steps below to keep your mouthguard clean and to help it last:
- Clean it before and after each use. Do not just rinse it with water, brush it on a regular basis with a toothbrush and toothpaste and clean it often with soapy water.
- Store it correctly. Your mouthguard should be kept in a clean, ventilated case where the air can reach and dry it.
- Inspect it for damage. Chewing on your mouth guard can cause it to become pitted and cracked, allowing bacteria to accumulate in it. Examine your mouth guard for damage and replace if necessary. For best results, you should purchase a new one at the start of every season.
Schedule your appointment
If you or a member of your family has a sports season starting soon, call Dougherty Dental at 858-454-2656 today to schedule your appointment for a sports mouth guard in La Jolla, California. Dr. Paul E. Dougherty and Dr. Scott O. Szotko will work with you to create a custom oral appliance to protect your smile.