Mouthguards are important dental health devices for people of all ages. A lot of people, especially athletes, don’t wear them regularly, though.
Only 60 percent of athletes report wearing mouthguards while participating in their sport of choice.
People use mouthguards to help with a wide range of issues, including conditions like sleep apnea.
Read on to learn more about the different types of mouthguards on the market. You’ll also get some helpful tips on deciding which one is right for you.
Why Wear a Mouthguard?
There are lots of reasons why a person might need to wear a mouthguard, even if they’re not an athlete. The following are some of the most popular uses for these devices:
Protect Against Tooth Fractures and Displacement
Wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports can help to protect the teeth and jaw from fractures. You can also avoid tooth displacement and tooth loss by wearing a mouthguard that fits correctly.
Protect Against Other Injuries
Mouthguards do more than protect the teeth. They can also help to prevent soft tissue injuries. This includes injuries to the tongue, gums, lips, and cheeks.
Have you ever bitten your tongue when you trip or stumble? It’s not a pleasant experience, is it? Mouthguards can help prevent this.
Some research shows that wearing a mouthguard can also protect athletes from serious injuries like concussions.
Reduce the Effects of Teeth Grinding
If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night, a mouthguard can help. It’ll create separation between your teeth to prevent you from wearing them down while you sleep.
Manage Sleep Apnea
Some mouthguards are effective for people suffering from sleep apnea as well.
You can buy special mouthguards that alter the position of the jaw while you sleep. These mouthguards help to keep your airway open and ensure you’re able to breathe easily through the night.
Even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, you may still want to wear a mouthguard at night to reduce your snoring.
Mouthguards meant to minimize snoring work like mouthguards designed for those with sleep apnea. They hold the jaw in place and keep the airway open.
They’re usually available over-the-counter and are less expensive than those designed for sleep apnea sufferers.
Most Popular Types of Mouthguards
Whether you’re an athlete who needs to prevent mouth injuries while playing your sport of choice or someone who grinds their teeth when they sleep at night, a mouthguard can be a useful tool. Here are some different types of mouthguards you may want to consider using:
Stock Mouth Protectors
These mouthguards come preformed and ready to wear. They’re inexpensive and easy to buy at any sporting goods or department store.
If you’re in a pinch and need something before your next game, they may get the job done. They don’t provide a lot of protection, though, and you can’t adjust their fit to your mouth.
“Boil and Bite” Mouth Protectors
This type of mouthguard goes in hot water and then gets worn in the mouth so that it molds to the shape of your teeth and jaw.
They are more customizable than stock mouth protectors and can provide additional protection. You can buy them at many sporting goods and department stores.
Custom-Fit Mouth Protectors
As the name suggests, this type of mouthguard fits your teeth and jaw.
You’ll have to have them made in a dentist’s office, so it takes a while before you can get yours and start wearing it. It will suit your specific needs, though, so it’ll provide more protection than other styles.
Nocturnal Bite Plate/Bite Splint
These mouthguards are for those dealing with teeth grinding, sleep apnea, and snoring.
You’ll need to work with your dentist to get these fitted to your teeth and jaw.
Since they have to be customized, these mouthguards can be more expensive. Your insurance policy may cover some or all the cost, though.
How to a Choose a Mouthguard
Now that you’re aware of the different types of mouthguards, you might want to learn more about how to choose the best one for your needs.
The following are some questions you might want to ask yourself to determine which mouthguard is the best fit for you:
- Is this mouthguard appropriate for my sport?
- How often will I wear this mouthguard?
- Does it fit over my teeth well?
- Can I wear it with braces?
- Is it comfortable?
- Does my dentist approve of it for regular use?
This last question is especially important. Whether you’re trying to manage symptoms or protect your teeth from a high-impact sport, your dentist ought to sign off on your mouthguard before you start wearing it.
Caring for Your Mouthguard
No matter what kind of mouthguard you choose, it’s important to make sure you’re caring for it properly. If you don’t take good care of your mouthguard, you could end up damaging it or turning it into a germ trap.
Keep these guidelines in mind to ensure you’re keeping your mouthguard in good condition:
- Always brush and floss the teeth before wearing your mouthguard
- Rinse your mouthguard with cool water only, as hot water can cause the shape to warp
- Clean the mouthguard with a toothbrush and toothpaste after every use
- Inspect it regularly for holes and other signs of wear and tear
- Store your mouthguard in a container with ventilation so it can dry out between each use
Remember, you have to replace mouthguards regularly, too. No mouthguard will last forever, especially if it undergoes a lot of impact during games or competitions.
Get Your Mouthguard Today
Are you interested in purchasing a mouthguard? As you can see, there are several different types of mouthguards.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or someone who wants to get a better night’s sleep. Either way, there’s a mouthguard for you. Keep this information in mind when you meet with your dentist or start looking into make your purchase.
Do you want to learn more about protecting your teeth and improving your oral health? Check out some of our other dental-related articles today.