Using Your Head: Mouthguards, Sports & You
Don’t be a hero. A little piece of plastic in your mouth provides big-time protection.
If you or your child participate in team sports or athletics, you may want to consider buying a mouthguard. Mouthguards can significantly decrease the chances of broken teeth, a broken jaw or even a season-ending concussion.
A store-bought or custom-fitted mouthguard can help keep you safe on the field without ruining a good time.
What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a plastic (or silicone), U-shaped device that fits over your teeth and protects your mouth from injury during jarring, physical contact.
Typically, a mouthguard covers your upper teeth. But if you have orthodontics (braces) on your lower teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may ask you to wear one on your lower teeth too.
I don’t wear braces. Do I need to wear a mouthguard?
Sure do. Even if the sport has minor risk of mouth injury, you need to wear a mouthguard. An accident can happen when you least expect it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What can happen if I don’t wear a mouthguard?
Well, it’s not pretty:
- Broken teeth
- Cuts to the lip, tongue or face
- Nerve damage
- Facial fractures
- Damaged mouth tissue
How do mouthguards stop concussions?
When you take a big hit to the jaw, the impact can reverberate through your skull and into your brain. A mouthguard absorbs some of this impact and prevents it from spreading. So don’t forget to wear your mouthguard during practice as well as during games!
Should I keep my retainer in when wearing my mouthguard?
No, anything that can be removed from the mouth should be removed before wearing a mouthguard.
What types of mouthguards can I buy?
Custom-fit: Made by your dentist or orthodontist. Offers maximum comfort and protection by fitting your teeth exactly.
Boil and bite: Formed by placing mouthguard in hot water to soften, then biting into it to mold to your teeth.
Ready-made: Bought “off of the shelf” and not fitted to your teeth specifically.