Mouthguards or mouth protectors are coverings worn over teeth.
Mouthguards or mouth protectors are coverings worn over teeth.

Mouthguards or mouth protectors are coverings worn over teeth. They protect your teeth from injuries. A mouthguard acts as a cushion to minimize the impact of trauma or a blow to the face. Thus, they lower the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw. The teeth in the upper jaw are more vulnerable to injuries than those in the lower jaw. Thus, mouthguards can cover the upper teeth to protect them and the soft tissues underneath such as the cheek lining, tongue, and lips. Mouthguards are especially crucial to protect against potential injuries for people who participate in organized sports and other recreational activities.

Will a mouthguard protect the teeth from grinding?

Mouthguards are helpful for people who grind their teeth in sleep. Adults and children who grind teeth in sleep can wear a mouthguard before going to bed. Mouthguards lower the pressure across the jaw and create a physical barrier between the teeth on the upper and lower jaw. Apart from protecting the teeth from damage during grinding, mouthguards also reduce the grinding noises made during sleep.

What are mouthguards used for?

Mouthguards can be worn by people, both adults and children, who are at risk of dental injuries. They must be worn by people who play contact sports such as boxing, football, hockey, soccer, and basketball. Wearing a mouthguard will also prevent dental injuries in people who participate in non-contact activities such as gymnastics, mountain biking, and skating.

Mouthguards are also helpful for people who grind their teeth in sleep. Adults and children who grind teeth in sleep can wear a mouthguard before going to bed. They lower the impact of grinding by distributing the pressure across the jaw. They create a physical barrier between the teeth on the upper and lower jaw. Apart from protecting the teeth from damage during grinding, mouthguards also reduce the grinding noises made during sleep.

What are the different types of mouthguards?

There are various types of mouthguards available in the market. They are generally made from rubber or plastic. A mouthguard can be bought from a pharmacist; however, you must get it custom-made from your dentist for a proper fit inside your mouth. 

The different types of mouthguards are as follows:

  • Custom-made mouthguards: These types of mouthguards are customized by the dentist for individual patients. They may cost more than a non-customized mouthguard available in the market. They, however, provide the best fit and comfort because they are individually created. 
  • Stock mouthguards: These types of mouth protectors cost less than the custom-made ones. They come in pre-formed and ready-to-wear packages. They are, however, quite bulky and may make talking and breathing difficult. They also do not fit well and provide little protection.
  • Boil and bite mouthguards: They cost less than a customized mouthguard. They can be purchased from several chemist shops and sporting goods stores. Boil and bite mouthguards may provide a better fit than stock mouthguards. As the name suggests, they need to be first boiled in water to make them soft. Thereafter, they are inserted in the mouth and allowed to adapt to the shape of the mouth. Before using them, you must read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. You must prefer buying the mouth protectors that have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

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Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2020
References
https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthguards#:~:text=Mouthguards%2C%20also%20called%20mouth%20protectors,tongue%2C%20lips%20and%20cheek%20lining.

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/mouth-guards#1