Mouth guards can be used during physical contact activities where there is the risk of injury to the facial tissue, including sports like football and hockey. If this form of mouth protection is not used and injury does occur, there is the likelihood of harm to the gum tissue, lips or teeth, leading to knocked out teeth, jaw injuries and tooth cracks. There are also models which can be used as night guards to alleviate symptoms of teeth grinding.
Types of mouth guard
There are three main types and the one you choose will ultimately depend on how and when you plan to use it
- Boil-and-bite: The lining is softened in boiling water and then the person bites down on the mouth piece to fit the shape of their mouth. The process of biting down should be done gently to ensure the thickness and overall effectiveness of the appliance is not compromised, but this will not prevent common issues of discomfort
- Custom-made: This is created based on measurements of your mouth taken by your dentist, and is proven to reduce the number and severity of injuries to the mouth during physical contact sports
- Ready-made: Though these are available ready-to-wear at over the counter at sports shops and are a relatively cheap option, ready-made models will generally be bulky and hard, providing a limited amount of protection due to their poor fit.
Custom-made mouth guards
Ollie & Darsh highly recommend custom-fitted mouth guards as these provide the most effective protection. This is because they:
- Are based on the specific measurements of your mouth
- Fit comfortably
- Do not impact speech
- Are odourless and tasteless
- Do not prohibit breathing or swallowing
- Will be thick enough to provide sufficient protection
Caring for and storing your mouth guard
You will need to rinse your mouth piece in cold water before and after use, drying and storing the device in a container with air vents when not in use. It is also advisable to clean it with soapy water on occasion and to store it in a cool place to prevent any distortion. If the eruption of teeth occurs or if you require tooth restorations, you may need to get a replacement.
Wear during contact sports
A mouth guard is to be worn during both training sessions and match play where there is the danger of physical contact and damage to the mouth. Sports where the use of a mouth guard is appropriate are where a collision with a team mate or opponent can happen or where there is the potential to be hit by balls, bats or racquets.
Wear for cases of bruxism
They are also a proven way of combatting problems related to bruxism or teeth grinding during the night-time, but in such cases they are often referred to as night guards. It is important to remember that this will be in your mouth while you sleep, so it is advisable to choose one which is comfortable and durable to the act of clenching teeth. Choosing a custom-made mouth piece for cases of tooth grinding in your sleep is often the best option.