Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential, even when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any contact sport such as basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, to name just a few, you really should wear a mouth guard.
It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) that a mouthguard be worn for ALL contact sports.
Types of mouthguards
Wearing a mouthguard during any contact sport is essential.
There are three basic types of mouthguards:
- Pre-made mouthguard: this is a stock mouthguard that comes in various colors and sizes
- Boil-and-Bite mouthguard: You can purchase these on line or in most sports stores. Please read the instructions carefully as they differ depending on the make and thickness
- Custom-made mouthguard: Once you are no longer in orthodontic appliances, your dentist can make a custom-made mouthguard, made especially for you
When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your dry mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
- Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard. If you wear braces, make sure your mouthguard can be taken in and out of your mouth easily without rubbing on your braces
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard.
Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask us any questions you may have regarding mouthguards— GO TEAM!