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

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

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

Post Date: May 28, 2024

Author Name: Twin Smiles Orthodontics

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.

Types of Mouthguards

The ADA Standard classifies three categories of mouthguards: custom-made, mouth-formed, and stock (ready-made).

Mouthguards are typically made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), but there is a range in terms of cost, quality, comfort, and safety.

Is A Mouthguard the Same Thing As a Nightguard?

The names can be confusing as there are a couple kinds of mouthguards. The difference between a mouthguard and a nightguard is a sports mouthguard is worn to protect from oral injuries when playing contact sports, while a night mouthguard is worn when sleeping to protect the teeth from grinding or clenching.

What Is The Difference Between A Nightguard and a Retainer?

Nightguards are worn at night while retainers can be worn any time of day. You can even get a permanent retainer which is fixed in the back of the teeth. The purpose of nightguards is to protect against bruxism, or the grinding of teeth. Nightguards can also help with snoring or sleep apnea. The purpose of a retainer is to maintain the alignment of your teeth.

Can I Eat With A Mouthguard?

No, always remove your mouthguard, sports guard, retainer, or nightguard before eating or drinking. Food particles and sugar could get stuck and lead to bacteria growth.

How To Clean Mouthguard

Keeping your mouthguard clean will prevent bacteria growth which could lead to tooth decay, and will also extend the life of your mouthguard. Follow these simple steps to clean your mouthguard at least once a month:

1. Rinse mouthguard with water
2. Pour a cap full of mouthwash in glass
3. Place mouthguard in glass
4. Fill with water until mouthguard is covered
5. Let mouthguard soak for 30 minutes
6. Remove and rinse with water
7. Dry mouthguard

Get Your Mouthguard Now

Here at Twin Smile Orthodontics we’d love to answer any additional questions you have around mouthguards and help you begin the process of creating your custom mouthguard. We service residents from Palo Alto and nearby locations. Contact us for a free consultation.

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