A healthy smile is desired by many. Basic oral care steps like brushing and flossing can give you healthy teeth. However, you may still want to know if a mouthguard will help you improve your smile.

Dentists recommend mouthguards to patients with a grinding issue or those who play a sport. Now, what is a mouthguard? Mouthguards are covers for your teeth designed to protect your teeth, gums, tongue, and cheeks. Various types of mouthguards are available in the market for kids and adults.

Type Of Mouthguards

1. Stock Mouthguards

A stock mouthguard is an affordable mouthguard readily available in most sporting goods stores and drug stores. They are available in three sizes, small, medium, and large. Though stock mouthguards are inexpensive and readily available, they have a few drawbacks. First, they are available in limited size options, making them uncomfortable for many people. They may offer a too tight or loose fit for the wearer, making it difficult for them to talk.

2. Boil-and-bite mouthguards

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are also available in most drugstores and are inexpensive too. However, they are available in one size that can be customised as per the size of your teeth. These mouthguards need to be boiled until they soften, and then they must be placed over the front teeth and bitten to customise as per your size. They come along with instructions to be followed to achieve a perfect fit.

3. Custom-made mouthguards

Your dentist can make these mouthguards. But, first, they’ll take impressions of your teeth to prepare a mould that will be used to create a mouthguard that sits perfectly on your teeth and mouth.

Compared to stock or boil-and-bite mouthguards, customised mouthguards are more comfortable and challenging to dislodge by mistake while sleeping. Therefore, they are ideal for patients who grind their teeth, snore, or have sleep apnea. However, one thing you must know about custom-made mouthguards is that they are more expensive than over-the-counter ones. But, in most cases, the partial or complete cost of a customised mouthguard is covered by dental insurance plans.

When Do You I Need A Mouthguard? What Type?

  • When Playing A Sport:

There is a high risk of falling when participating in any sports. The falls can have a significant impact on your face, resulting in injuries. A mouthguard can protect your teeth and prevent them from hurting your lips or tongue.

Using a mouthguard is essential if you’re involved in sports like football, soccer, boxing, basketball, field hockey, ice hockey, gymnastics, skateboarding, in-line skating, cycling, volleyball, softball, and wrestling.

You may use a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard when playing sports.

  • Teeth Grinding:

Bruxism, a sleep-related movement disorder, is a condition involving teeth grinding and clenching. Bruxism is one of the common reasons for dental issues like tooth pain, jaw pain, and sore gums. Wearing a mouthguard while sleeping can help create distance between your top and bottom teeth, thus protecting them from damage that may be caused due to pressure of grinding or clenching.

With bruxism, people should wear a custom-fitted mouthguard as stock mouthguards are challenging to keep in place while sleeping, and boil-and-bite mouthguards become brittle and weak with daily use.

  • Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder, causes a person to stop breathing temporarily. This disturbs the flow of oxygen to the brain, thus increasing the chances of heart disease and stroke. In addition, sleep apnea causes a person to snore excessively while sleeping. More severe cases of sleep apnea are treated with a CPAP machine that keeps airways open while the person sleeps. However, in the case of mild sleep apnea, a custom-made mouthguard can help similarly.

Customised mouthguards push the lower jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open. Some mouthguards even have a strap that rests around the head and chin and allows re-adjustment of the lower jaw. However, stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are useless in the case of sleep apnea.

  • Snoring

Sift tissue vibrations in the upper airway are the reason behind snoring. Mouthguards can help in reducing snoring by working in a similar manner as they do for sleep apnea. They pull the lower jaw forward and keep the airway open.

Many over-the-counter mouthguards available today claim to prevent snoring. However, there is not much proof of their effectiveness. If your snoring habit is bothering you or your partner, it is best to talk to your dentist about mouthguard options. They may give you a custom-fit mouthguard or recommend one they know will help you deal with your problem.

In short, mouthguards are devices designed to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding, clenching, or injuries that may happen while you play sports. They also reduce snoring and help patients with sleep apnea. Since not all mouthguards are alike, you should speak to our dentist Brisbane about the best option for your issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a mouthguard if I grind my teeth?

Yes. Wearing a mouthguard for teeth grinding is extremely important. Teeth grinding during the day is known as awake bruxism, whereas during the night (in your sleep) is known as sleep bruxism. They may lead to problems like pain, tooth fracture, headache, and TMJ syndrome if ignored for too long. Hence, you must consult your dentist and get the right mouthguard to treat your teeth grinding issue. In most bruxism cases, dentists recommend people to get a custom-fit mouthguard made. These mouthguards are explicitly designed to offer your teeth cushioning to stop them from grinding against each other.

Why should you not wear a mouthguard?

Wearing the right type and size of mouthguard is essential to protect your teeth and gums. However, if you don’t have access to clean, undamaged or perfect-fitting mouthguards, it is best to avoid wearing them. A mouthguard that isn’t clean may cause germs to enter your mouth and affect your oral and overall health. On the other hand, an ill-fitted mouthguard may prevent you from talking freely and make you uncomfortable throughout the game (in case it is a mouthguard you are using for sports). Instead, get the right mouthguard created by your dentist to ensure maximum protection for your teeth and no negative impact on your health

Does everyone need a mouth guard?

Anyone participating in any sport requires a mouth guard. Activities like football, basketball, baseball, handball, soccer, hockey, ice hockey, skateboarding, squash, surfing, skydiving, boxing, acrobats, gymnastics, wrestling, and mountain biking may result in a fall, causing injury to the mouth. This makes it essential for the person playing the sport to wear a mouth guard. With the correct type of mouthguard, players can minimise the effect of an injury on their faces. It is crucial to choose the right size mouthguards that fit perfectly to prevent them from falling while you are playing the sport.

What is the purpose of a mouthguard?

Mouthguards are designed to offer protection to your teeth and gums. They are ideal for wearing when playing sports, riding bikes, or treating issues like teeth grinding or snoring. There are various mouthguards, including stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and custom-fit mouthguards. The type of mouthguard you require will depend on why you plan to get one. Regardless of the type, a good mouthguard must be comfortable and at no point restrict your breathing. Speak to your dentist about the type of mouthguard you require for your purpose.