If you have braces and want to play sports, a mouthguard is necessary to protect your mouth and appliance from injury. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends wearing a mouthguard while practicing any contact sport.
Types of mouthguards
Mouthguards can be split into three basic categories: pre-made, “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguards, and a fully custom-made mouthguard from your orthodontist. When choosing a mouthguard, the recommendation is to select one that is going to be resistant to tearing, comfortable to wear, and fits your mouth appropriately. It is also important to consider how easy the mouthguard can be cleaned and make sure it does not affect your breathing.
Most sporting goods stores carry pre-made and boil-and-bite mouthguard varieties. If you choose a custom-made mouthguard, you will need to visit your orthodontist. The custom-made mouthguards are made to fit just your mouth and protect your mouth most efficiently. If you need help choosing a mouthguard, just let us know at your next appointment.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Just like any other removable dental appliance, it is important to keep your mouthguard safe by keeping it in its case when it is not in your mouth. Be sure to keep your mouthguard clean and to replace it when it tears or becomes worn.
- After each use, brush your mouthguard using a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristle toothbrush.
- When your mouthguard is not in your mouth, keep it in its case.
- Keep your mouthguard away from heat sources including the sun and hot water because it can melt or deform.
- Be sure to purchase a new mouthguard every sports season. If your mouthguard looks worn or does not fit properly, it is time to replace it even if the season is not over yet.
- Avoid wearing a retainer with your mouthguard. If you have braces, your orthodontist can make you a mouthguard that will consider protection for your teeth and braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask your dentist which is best for you.
- Bring your mouthguard to each dental checkup, so your dentist can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!
The most common injuries to the mouth and jaw are caused by sports. It is important to minimize the possibility of a sports-related mouth injury, ask your doctor about what mouthguard would work best for you during your next appointment.