With the school term underway and the club and activity schedules flying in, it’s time to think about getting a mouth guard fitted for any of your children about to start playing any contact sports. A mouth guard is a protective device which covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums. There are three types of sports mouth guards to choose from. With each type, you should make sure they fit properly, feel comfortable and are resilient to tears or knocks.
Custom-made sports mouth guards
Your dentist individually designs and makes this type of mouth guards. Therefore, they will provide the most comfortable fit and the best protection. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and then constructs the mouth guard over a model of them. As these are the best fit, they tend to be the most expensive. They cost from £35.00.
Boil and bite sports mouth guards
These come in a pre-formed shape. You can alter the shape by boiling the mouth guard in water and then biting into the warm plastic for a customised fit. You can buy them at many sporting goods stores and they may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. It is really important to follow the directions carefully to avoid making a poorly fitting mouth guard. They cost from £5.00.
Stock sports mouth guards
These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and may make breathing and talking difficult. These are the cheapest type of sports mouth guard to wear – they cost from £4.00.
Questions and Answers
Q: Which protection level should I choose?
A: You should use Mid-Impact sports guards for rugby, judo, etc. (i.e. sports that do not use a hard stick or ball and where the head is not an intentional target). Hi-Impact guards are used for hockey, lacrosse, boxing, martial arts, etc. (i.e. sports that do use a hard stick or ball, or where the head is a target).
Q: How long does a sport mouth guard last?
A: This varies according to many factors, e.g. growth, usage etc. Normally, a growing child would require a new sport mouth guard once a year. Although the teeth and bones may be growing, the sport mouth guards are flexible, and can accommodate some movement. Older children and adults may not grow, but the mouth guard will wear down with use and you should check it annually.
Q: How do I store my sport mouth guard?
A: The safest place is to keep it stored in the plastic case that it comes with. Do not leave it in direct sunlight or near heat source.
Q: How do I clean my sport mouth guard?
A: You should clean your mouth guard with a retainer cleaner such as retainer bright. Do not use toothpaste or other cleaning materials to clean your mouth guard. Do not rinse in hot water.
Q: What happens if my child will have a fixed brace fitted soon?
A: You will need to make a new sports mouth guard once your child has a fixed brace fitted.