An average of 40% of teeth-related injuries are also sports-related which means it’s essential to protect your teeth with a gum guard, especially during high contact sports such as rugby, boxing, football, martial arts and hockey.
Why wear a mouthguard?
If you or your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, wearing a mouth guard will shield the appliance from being exposed to damage.
What kinds of mouth guards are available?
Shop-bought – You can buy mouthguards from a good sports retailer, though the quality is not as good as if you were to have one custom-made by your orthodontist.
Custom made – These are made by taking an exact impression of your mouth so that your mouthguard fits each individual tooth.
Shop-bought vs Custom-made – Custom-made mouthguards are more likely to protect your teeth, jaw and even brain from injuries and heavy blows. The shop-bought option can prevent damage but it is not guaranteed that they will protect you against heavy blows, as they are not perfectly fitted to your teeth, leaving you more exposed to the possibility of injury.
What factors should I consider when choosing a mouth guard?
The thickness of your mouth guard should be considered. It should be 4mm thick at the front.
It may not be such an obvious point to consider, but the colour of your gum guard is also important, for example, it is against the rules to box with a red gum guard.
Mouth guard maintenance
The better care you take of your mouth guard, the longer it will last. Custom-made mouthguards are costly and worth looking after!
- Do not expose it to high temperatures.
- Hot surfaces.
- Direct sunlight.
When you aren’t using it, you should be storing your mouth guard in a protective container. You should avoid exposing your mouthguard to hot water or surfaces, high temperatures and direct sunlight as these will alter its shape and render it less effective.
Rinse your mouth guard in cold water and clean it regularly with toothpaste.
How long can mouthguards last?
The durability of your mouth guard depends on your age. If you or your child’s teeth are still growing, you will need to place it fairly regularly, as your teeth will still be changing and therefore a custom-made one will not be custom-made for long!
Like any type of sports equipment, mouthguards are susceptible to wear and tear, so it’s important to keep track of how worn your guard is.