A mouth guard is a crucial piece of sports equipment that must be worn while playing all sports, particularly contact sports. These sports include hockey, skateboarding, football, boxing, and even gymnastics. By wearing a mouth guard, you make sure any activity posing a risk of injury to the face or mouth can be prevented. While some people believe a mouth guard is not important if you are wearing braces, they should know that a mouth guard not only protects your tongue, cheeks, lips, and teeth from injury but it can offer protection to your braces’ brackets and wires.
The kind of dental injuries that can occur in the absence of a mouth guard are broken teeth, fractured bridgework or crowns, cheek and lip injuries, fractured jaws, root damage to the teeth and concussions. Mouth guards are obligatory in contact sports, such as hockey, boxing, and football, as there is a greater risk of injury. Players in other sports, such as wrestling, volleyball, baseball, and basketball can also benefit from a mouth guard as they will reduce the risk of injuries to the mouth.
Using a mouth guard reduces the risk of tooth dislocations, tooth fractures, and soft tissue cuts while playing sports. The guards also protect efficiently against jaw fractures and concussions as they absorb the energy of a forceful blow to the chin.
Generally, there are three kinds of protective mouth guards:
- Stock: Preformed and ready to wear
- Boil and Bite: These mouth guards are customized and molded by softening in boiling water
- Custom-made: Tailor-made by a dentist to fit an individual’s mouth, providing maximum protection
Mouth guards may vary in price and comfort level but they all are designed to provide maximum protection. According to The American Dental Association that the most effective mouth guards should be:
- Easy to clean
- Tear-resistant and durable
- Should not obstruct your breathing
Regardless of the type of mouth guard you choose, you should wear one at all times when playing any sport.