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7 Facts about Your Sports Mouth Guard Grand Rapids, MI

Do you play a contact sport? If so, you’ll want to ask your dentist about getting a custom mouth guard. A mouth guard protects your teeth and gums from being damaged while playing contact sports. Don’t let your season get interrupted with a visit to your emergency dentist. The best way to protect your smile is to invest in a comfortable mouth guard so you can play your best game.

Continue reading to learn the 7 facts about your sports mouth guard your dentist wants you to know.

1.) Mouth Guards Do Protect Your Teeth

They’re not just worn for looks or because they might help your teeth, sports mouth guards have been proven to protect teeth from things like a collision.

Although mouth guards do not guarantee protection, your chance of injury goes up to around 60% when you’re not wearing a sports mouth guard, according to the American Dental Association.

When it comes to contact sports like boxing, sports mouth guards are sometimes mandatory and recommended in over 20 sports.

 A sports mouth guard forms a protective layer over upper teeth, reducing your risk of injury. For example, a football mouth guard prevents teeth from being knocked out the next time you’re tackled on the field.

Likewise, a basketball mouth guard can protect your teeth if another player shoots out their arm to collect a rebound and hits you in the mouth.

You may think sports like basketball are safer than football, but when it comes to dental injuries basketball actually ranks the highest according to the American Association of Orthodontists!

2.) You Only Need a Mouth Guard for Top Teeth, Generally

Unless you have braces, you typically only need a mouth guard for top teeth. Not only does this help you breathe easier during the game, but it’ll also make for a more comfortable fit.

There are some sports or contact activities where both upper and lower mouth guards are recommended. Generally, these are sports where blows to the jaw are more likely, such as boxing.

3.) You Should Replace Your Mouth Guard Every 6 Months

Over time, your dental mouth guard will show signs of wear and tear.

When the material is no longer thick enough to be considered protective, you’ll need to get a new mouth guard. We recommend replacing your dental guard every 6 months to make sure your teeth always have the best protection.

Try not to chew on your mouth guard or press against it too much with your tongue. Preemptive wear on your sports mouth guard could result in you needing a new one sooner in order to protect your teeth. 

Avoid bending your mouth guard as well. If you’re someone who removes their mouth guard frequently, try not to hook it to a helmet because each time you yank it off the helmet, you wear out the guard even more.

4.) You Need to Clean Your Mouth Guard

Bacteria and other microorganisms flourish in dark, moist environments. Not only could these microorganisms make you sick, but they can also give you bad breath.

Get in the habit of cleaning your mouth guard after every practice and game so you can maintain good oral health. An unwanted cavity, or infection, could ruin your season.

Simply scrub out the mouth guard with a toothbrush and rinse under cold water before storing it in a dry ventilated container.

5.) You Can Get a Mouth Guard for Braces

Don’t think that because you have braces you can’t, or don’t need to wear a dental mouth guard while playing sports. You do still need to wear a mouth guard during orthodontic treatment.

Braces are designed to help align your teeth, not protect them from contact damage.

After all the time it took to straighten your smile, the last thing you want is to knock out a tooth while playing football. A mouth guard for braces also prevents wires and brackets from ripping into soft tissue on impact.

It’s important you get a custom mouth guard during orthodontic treatment so your teeth can continue moving into optimal alignment. A generic mouth guard from the sporting goods store can be loose enough to snag on braces or tight enough to horribly agitate your teeth.

6.) You Should Avoid Stock Mouth Guards All Together

Although some people say stock mouth guards offer the same protection as a custom-fitted sports mouth guard, we have to point out a few important differences:

  • Stock mouth guards tear easier
  • Stock mouth guards are often too loose or too tight
  • Stock mouth guards are made of a weaker material

When it comes to your teeth, if you plan on playing a contact sport for an entire season, it’s well worth the investment to get a custom mouth guard.

When you practice a contact sport for several hours a day there are many opportunities for dental trauma. Unfortunately, the stock mouth guards you find at the sporting goods store aren’t customized to your bite and may fit too tightly or loosely, leaving you annoyed and distracted.

If you need a temporary mouth guard while waiting for a custom sports mouth guard, a store-bought mouth guard is better than nothing though.

7.) Mouth Guards Cost Less Than Restorative Dentistry

Getting a sports mouth guard not only protects your oral health, but also your wallet.

A tooth restoration surgery (like an implant or crown) is by far more expensive than a sports mouth guard.

We also don’t recommend trying to cut corners with a stock mouth guard from your local sporting goods store. While a generic mouth guard costs less than one from your dentist, they also don’t offer the same level of personalized protection.

Need a Custom Mouth Guard Near You?

Donald VanderLinde DDS and Alexandra Dodds DDS will be able to create the best mouth guard for your smile and the sport you play. To schedule an appointment with one of our Grand Rapids dentists, feel free to call Renew Family Dental at (616) 245-3205 or request a dental appointment with us online.