4 Reasons why athletes should wear custom mouthguards
1. A properly fitted mouthguard protects the soft tissues of the lips, cheeks, gums and tongue from tearing during impact.
2. It cushions the teeth and jaw joints from impact.
3. Allows breathing and speaking, making it easier for athletes to wear it during training and games.
4. The cost of a custom mouthguard is low compared to the cost of any treatment associated with injury sustained by not wearing a mouthguard.
What are mouthguards?
A mouthguard is a soft plastic that helps to cushion the teeth, jawbone and gums during a traumatic event (e.g. a blow to the face during sports). They help to significantly reduce the risk of broken or knocked out teeth as well as injuries to the jaw, gums, lips, cheeks and the tongue. They also help to reduce injuries to the jaw joint (TMJ). They cover the top teeth because they are usually the ones that receive the initial blow. The bottom teeth are normally set behind the top teeth, this naturally gives them a bit more protection.
When should they be worn?
They ideally, should form a part of protective gear during all sporting activities, including team practice. They are typically worn when playing contact sports like rugby union, rugby league, AFL, hockey and boxing. Children and adults involved with non-contact sports like soccer, skateboarding, touch football, netball, basketball and trampolining which also carry a risk of accidental collision, which may result in injuries to the mouth, might also consider wearing a mouthguard.
What are the different types of mouthguards available?
1. Custom Fitted Mouthguards
They are individually designed and made in our dental clinic. The dentist will take an impression/mould of your teeth. The mouthguard is then moulded over the model of your teeth. Because it is custom made for your teeth, it fits well, and is very comfortable. You can breathe and speak with it in the mouth. It provides the best protection for you or your child. The Australian Dental Association recommends the use of custom fitted mouthguards.
2. Stock Mouthguards
These are preformed and come ready to wear. They can be bought at sporting good stores. They are ill-fitting, bulky, make breathing and talking difficult. They provide very limited protection, our dentists do not recommend them.
3. Boil and bite mouthguards
They can also be bought at sporting good stores. They offer a slightly better fit than the stock mouthguards. They do not confer as good protection as the custom mouthguards.
How do I care for my Mouthguard?
• Rinse the mouthguard with cold water or a mouthwash before and after each use.
• Clean the mouthguard with cool soapy water and a soft bristled toothbrush and rinse it thoroughly before storage.
• Place the mouthguard in a firm container to store or transport it.
• Protect the mouthguard from high temperature eg water or direct sunlight, to minimize distorting it’s shape.
• Keep the mouthguard out of reach from pets, dogs can eat them!
• Bring your mouthguard to your routine check up appointments so that the dentist can examine it.