Whether organized or unorganized, competitive or recreational, amateur or professional, if you participate in sporting activities, you should wear a mouth guard. The specific sport you play is not as important as the consistent act of using a sports mouth guard to reduce the risk and extent of dental injuries incurred. While the prevalence, severity, and chance of injury vary from sport to sport, contact and limited-contact activities alike pose a risk to your mouth and teeth. Sports mouth guards are necessary to protect your dental health. Lincoln Smiles can help you figure out which type of mouth guard is right for you and teach you how to properly care for it.
Type of Sports Mouth Guards
Mouth guards come in three main types: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom-made.
Stock mouth guards are ready-made and are the most widely available and the most affordable type of mouth guard. Sold at many sporting goods stores and other retail establishments, these preformed mouth protectors generally come in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. This type of mouth guard does not adapt to your mouth and teeth, and it usually only stays in place with a closed mouth. The least effective type, stock mouth guards can be bulky and awkward, making it difficult to speak and breathe.
While slightly more expensive, boil-and-bite mouth guards are far more effective than stock mouth guards. They come in one size and, as the name suggests, this type is boiled in water to soften it, then placed in the mouth for you to bite down. Then, you use your tongue and fingers to mold the mouth guard in shape to fit the structure of your mouth.
Custom-made mouth guards are just that - mouth guards created for your specific mouth structure. We take impressions of your teeth, and then we use those impressions to create a mouthguard to fit your mouth perfectly. While more expensive than the other types, custom-made mouth guards are generally the most effective and longest-lasting. They also tend to be more comfortable than stock or boil-and-bite mouth guards.
How Do I Care for My Mouth Guard?
Proper care for your mouth guard is crucial. Cleaning it regularly and storing it properly when not in use will help keep your mouth guard free of bacteria and damage, prolonging its use. To get the most out of your mouth guard, rinse it with mouthwash or cool water before putting it in and after taking it out. You can also clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste after each use. Store your mouth guard in a hard, ventilated container between uses to allow it to dry out.
Custom mouth guards generally last a couple of years, while the stock and boil-and-bite types will likely need to be replaced more frequently. It’s important to inspect your mouth guard regularly for holes, tears, or any other signs of damage, and replace it if any damage is found. You should also replace your mouth guard if it becomes loose or uncomfortable.
Regardless of the type you choose, a mouth guard should feel comfortable in your mouth without restricting your breathing or your speech, and it should be easy to clean and durable. Let Lincoln Smiles assess your mouth guard needs, along with your exams and dental cleanings, and answer any questions you may have. Call us at 916-543-8800 today to schedule an appointment.