Mouthguards are also called mouth protectors and sports mouthguards. A mouthguard is a device that is worn over the teeth to protect you from injury. Mouthguards are suited for people who take part in sports involving body contact, falls, or flying devices. These sports include rugby, hockey, football, cricket, gymnastics and skateboarding. These sporting activities pose a significant risk of mouth injuries.
What Conditions Are Treated Using Mouthguards?
Apart from being used to treat people involved in high-risk sporting activities, mouthguards are also used to treat people suffering from specific disorders. These disorders include bruxism and excessive snoring. Mouth protectors are also used for TMJ disorder and sleep apnea.
In bruxism, mouth protectors are used to prevent a person from clenching or grinding their teeth while asleep. Mouth protectors also hold the tongue in its appropriate place to avoid excessive snoring. Temporomandibular joint disorder is characterised by teeth grinding. A mouthguard can help hold your temporomandibular joint to prevent grinding.
What Are The Types of Mouthguards?
The main types of mouthguards are stock mouthguards, custom-made mouth protectors, and mouth-formed protectors. Stock mouthguards are considered the cheapest option. These guards have the least protection because they have a limited fit adjustment. A stock mouthguard can interfere with your breathing and speech because you have to close your jaws to hold this mouthguard in place.
Custom-made mouth protectors are custom made by the dentist. They offer the best fit, comfort level, and protection because they are made after taking impressions of your teeth. Mouth-formed protectors also provide a good fit and are less expensive than custom-made guards. However, they are not as durable as mouth-formed protectors. To use these guards, you need to immerse them in boiling water for a few seconds, then transfer them to cold water so they can adapt to your teeth.
How Does One Take Care of Mouthguards?
One of the measures you should take to maintain the functionality of your mouthguards is to avoid chewing on them. Chewing on or altering the mouth guard will affect its fit and effectiveness. You should also avoid high temperatures and direct sunlight as it might distort the guards, thus affecting their fit.
The mouth contains plaque and bacteria; therefore, ensure you clean your sports mouthguard after every use. You should clean your mouthguards with toothpaste and a toothbrush. You should also store the guards in a firm, perforated container to avoid damage and to facilitate air circulation.