When it comes to protecting our bodies during physical activities, we often prioritise helmets, knee pads, and other protective gear. However, one essential piece of protective equipment that often goes overlooked is the mouthguard. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or simply someone who enjoys an active lifestyle, a mouthguard is a small investment that can make a huge difference in safeguarding your oral health. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of mouthguards, exploring their importance, types, benefits, and how to choose the right one for your needs.
Preventing Dental Injuries: Sports and physical activities pose a risk of accidental impact to the face and mouth. A mouthguard acts as a cushion, absorbing the force of impact and reducing the likelihood of broken teeth, lip lacerations, and jaw fractures.
Protecting Orthodontic Work: Individuals with braces or other orthodontic appliances are especially vulnerable to oral injuries. A mouthguard can provide an additional layer of protection to prevent damage to braces and minimise the risk of soft tissue injuries.
Concussion Prevention: While not a foolproof solution, some studies suggest that wearing a properly fitted mouthguard may help reduce the risk of concussions. The cushioning effect of the mouthguard can help absorb shock and minimise the impact transmitted to the head.
Types of Mouthguards
Stock Mouthguards: These are pre-formed, ready-to-wear mouthguards available at most sporting goods stores. While affordable, they often offer limited protection and may not fit well, making breathing and speaking difficult.
Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: These mouthguards are softened in hot water and then moulded to fit the individual’s teeth and mouth shape. They offer a better fit than stock mouthguards and are readily available at sporting goods stores.
Custom-Fitted Mouthguards: Considered the gold standard, these mouthguards are crafted by dental professionals based on impressions of your teeth. Custom-fitted mouthguards provide the best fit, comfort, and protection, albeit at a higher cost.
Benefits of Using a Mouthguard
Preservation of Teeth: By absorbing impact, mouthguards help prevent chipped, cracked, or knocked-out teeth.
Reduced Soft Tissue Injuries: Mouthguards act as a barrier between your teeth and lips, cheeks, and tongue, reducing the risk of cuts and abrasions.
Enhanced Performance: Wearing a mouthguard can provide a psychological boost, instilling confidence and allowing you to focus on your game or activity.
Choosing the Right Mouthguard
Activity Type: Consider the intensity and type of activity you’ll be engaging in. High-contact sports like football or hockey may require a more robust mouthguard than a low-impact activity like skiing.
Fit and Comfort: A well-fitting mouthguard is crucial. Custom-fitted mouthguards offer the best fit, but boil-and-bite options can also provide satisfactory comfort.
Durability and Maintenance: Choose a mouthguard that is easy to clean and maintain. Proper care will prolong its lifespan and ensure hygienic use.