A mouth guard or a mouth protector is a custom fitted flexible device that is usually worn during sports or recreational activities. A mouth guard is essential for people who wear braces, who have any fixed anterior bridgework or for people who want to protect their teeth from potential damage. In the event of a trauma, mouth guards serve as a protection device which can reduce the damage to the teeth or to any appliance present over the teeth to a great extent. Mouth guards also greatly reduce the risk of soft tissue damage by serving as a shield between the teeth/braces and cheeks between the lips and tongue.
Why should you wear a Mouth Guard?
Reports show that dental injuries are the most common form of orofacial injury sustained during sports participation. The reports also claim that an athlete who does not wear a mouth guard is 60% more likely to sustain damage to the teeth. The American Dental Association recommends the use of a mouth guard for 29 different activities. But regardless of the recommendations, it is always safer to wear mouth guards for all sports and recreational activities in which impact, contact, and collisions are likely to happen.
What are the advantages of wearing a Mouth Guard?
Wearing a mouth guard can prevent chipping or breakage of teeth, root and bone damage and tooth loss. Most often the orofacial injuries sustained during sports activities result in permanent damage to oral structures which will require medical attention. Mouth guards also protect the wearer from serious injuries like jaw fracture, concussions, neck injuries, and cerebral damage. Many athletes do not wear mouth guards either due to lack of awareness or due to the notion that wearing mouth guards reduces their coolness quotient.
Types of Mouth Guards
The different types of mouth guards include stock mouth guards, mouth-formed mouth guards, and custom fit mouth guards. The stock mouth guards are ready-made one that is available in at a pharmacy or at a sports shop. Mouth-formed guards have acrylic gel or rubber that molds to the teeth and sets it in shape. Custom-fit mouth guards are more expensive and the safest and the most comfortable type than the other mouth guards.
How to maintain a Mouth Guard?
- Remember to brush and floss before wearing your mouth guard.
- Biting your mouth guard can distort its original shape.
- Wash your mouth guard with soap and cool water and not in hot water.
- Soak your mouth guard in mouthwash before storing.
- Avoid bending your mouth guards.
- Don’t share your mouth guard with others.