What Is A Mouthguard? Do I Need To Wear A Sports Mouthguard?

What Is A Mouthguard? Do I Need To Wear A Sports Mouthguard?

A mouthguard is also known as an athletic mouth protector, gumshield, or sports guard. It’s a device worn inside the mouth that looks similar to a thick retainer tray.

If you’re involved in contact sports it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, jaw, tongue, and lips from potential trauma. The American Dental Association recommends “wearing a properly fitted mouth guard to reduce the incidence and severity of sports-related dental injuries” including things like knocked out teeth, cut lips, jaw fractures, TMJ injuries, etc.

Studies have shown mouthguard use reduces the risk of sport-related dental or orofacial injuries.

orofacial injuries

Numerous Studies Show Reductions in Orofacial Injuries With Use of Mouthguards

A recent meta-analysis showed the overall prevalence of dentofacial injuries among people participating in collision sports was 27%. Compared to mouthguard users, those who did not use mouthguards had more than double the increased risk of orofacial injury.

What sports should I wear a mouthguard for?

It’s safest to wear a mouthguard for any sport where you’re at risk of being hit in the face by anyone or anything like an elbow, ball, etc.

If you’re in orthodontic treatment and have braces or Invisalign, you can wear a mouthguard over the braces and Invisalign to protect your lips from being cut by the brace brackets or hard edge of the Invisalign.

Most coaches and athletic directors will require you to wear a mouthguard, but you can reference the table below for a guide to sporting and recreational activities mouthguard use is recommended for.



Source: American Dental Association

What Kind of Mouthguard Is Best?

The dental arch is considered to be at highest risk for injury, so the mouthguard should provide a protective surface as well as offer protection from soft tissue injuries to the cheeks and lips. Your mouthguard should feel comfortable in your mouth so that you’ll actually wear it, and should fit snugly over your teeth while being able to comfortably talk and breathe. It shouldn’t break or easily tear with pressure and needs to have high-impact energy absorption to absorb impact if you fall or get hit.

Here at Twin Smiles Orthodontics in Palo Alto, we love sports and enjoy working with athletes! We offer custom mouthguards and sponsor local high school sports teams. Custom-made mouthguards and nightguards from Twin Smiles Orthodontics in Palo Alto provide effective protection against bruxism and sports-related trauma. Contact us if you’re looking to get a custom mouthguard made.