Are Sports Mouth Guards Necessary?

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If you enjoy playing sports, especially contact sports or sports that put you at increased risk of injury, then a mouth guard is a commonly recommended accessory. Mouth guards are specifically designed to shield the mouth from damage caused by teeth grinding, injury or trauma to the mouth during sports. They come in a variety of types, with some geared towards comfort and a better fit and others towards sturdiness.

While it is possible to play sports without using a mouth guard, it is highly recommended that you do, especially if you engage in sports which put your mouth at an increased risk of trauma such as rugby, boxing or football. Mouth guards can help decrease the risk of trauma to the gums and soft tissues of your mouth as well as tooth damage. They also play a vital role in preventing the breaking or chipping of teeth. Most dentists would advise wearing a mouth guard when playing any type of contact sport but they can also be useful to those engaging in other sports like skateboarding or mountain biking.

Mouth guards are also especially important to wear if you play sports and are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment. It is vital to wear a mouth guard when you wear braces as injuries to the face and mouth could damage the orthodontic equipment. It is important to get a mouth guard that fits well, as this will minimise the risk of injury occurring. There are a range of mouth guards available which are specially designed to give you the best fit possible. For instance, boil and bite mouth guards are created using a plastic material which becomes soft when heated. Once you have put the mouth guard in hot water, it is simply placed in the mouth and it moulds to the shape of your mouth. It is possible to get your dentist to fit you with an individually designed mouth guard created to match your mouth perfectly. Using an impression of your teeth, a specialised laboratory creates a custom mouth guard for you. Although this undoubtedly provides the best fit and comfort, it also tends to be more expensive due to the equipment and materials involved in its creation. You can also purchase standard mouth guards at many sports shops. Whilst these are relatively cheap, there is not much that can be done to alter their fit. Due to this, they are sometimes bulky and may cause problems with talking and breathing.

Read more in the Dental Treatment Information Guide »