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Mouthguards: Protecting Your Pearly Whites

Losing teeth is not a natural part of playing a contact sport. Regardless of the sport you play, mouthguards are an easy and inexpensive way to protect your mouth from injury.

Mouthguards are fortunately a much more common sight these days. In many sports, professional and amateur, mouthguards are must-have equipment. These little guards offer high protection at a low cost for the athletes of any age.

Guard Against Injury to Your Mouth

Injuries in sports are common, especially in contact sports. A mouthguard should always make the list when you are purchasing your sports equipment. Evidence shows that not wearing a mouthguard can nearly double your risk of oral injury.

The American Dental Association recommends athletes of all ages use a mouthguard for activities with some degree of injury risk. A mouthguard can not only help prevent broken teeth but also decrease injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw. Here are some common activities that require a mouthguard:

Mouthguards should be used for any sport with a potential for facial injury, not just the ones listed above.

When you are buying a mouthguard, here are a few things you should look for:

While you are out shopping, you may also find there are different types of mouthguards for different sports.

Types of Mouthguards

There is some variation in mouthguards, so choose carefully. You may also want to discuss your options with your dentist. Here are some examples of the types of mouthguards you may see:

Before you decide on the type mouthguard you want to purchase, there are a few more issues to consider:

Like anything you own, you have to take care of it. When you do, it will last longer and work the way it is supposed to.

Take Care of Your Mouthguard

Caring for your mouthguard is easy. Whether you bought it at a store or had it custom-fitted by a dentist, it only takes a few minutes to keep your mouthguard in fighting shape.

Remember to see your dentist on a regular basis as part of your overall dental care. Bring the mouthguard with you to your appointments. It is a good way to make sure the mouthguard is working effectively.

No matter what your age or sport, make sure you take some time to invest in a mouthguard. Mouthguards are an easy, inexpensive way to protect your mouth from injury and permanent damage.

RESOURCES:

Mouth Healthy—The American Dental Association
http://www.mouthhealthy.org

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
http://myoms.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Dental Association
http://www.cda-adc.ca

Dental Hygiene Canada
http://www.dentalhygienecanada.ca

REFERENCES:

Choosing the mouth guard that's right for your sport or recreational activities. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaoms.org/images/uploads/pdfs/guide_to_mouthguards.pdf. Accessed November 10, 2014

Mouthguards. American Dental Association Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthguards. Accessed November 10, 2014.

Mouthguards. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/mouthguards. Accessed November 10, 2014.

Last reviewed August 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 8/2/2016