Most of you might think mouthguards are only used during high-risk impact sports like football, boxing, etc. This is not the case. Mouthguards are also used to treat sleep apnoea, snoring, teeth grinding and jaw conditions. Note a few important things to help you better understand mouthguards:
2 Categories of Mouth Guards
You can either get new mouthguards over-the-counter or from a dental clinic. What is the difference between these two categories of mouthguards?
Over-the-counter mouthguards may also be referred to as ready-made mouth guards. These are mouthguards you can access from a store (sports or drug stores). You do not need to visit a dental clinic for fitting.
The most common type of over-the-counter mouthguard you may come across is the boil-and-bite mouthguard. You simply place it in hot water to soften it, then put it in your mouth and bite down. It takes the shape of your teeth. Don't expect it to be a perfect fit, but you would rather use it than play risky contact sports without a mouthguard.
Custom-fitted mouthguards are obtained from a dental clinic. You need to visit a dental clinic for the dentist to create a mould from your teeth's impression. The good thing about these mouthguards is that they are made to fit comfortably without affecting your speech, which might be needed during sports. They may, however, be more expensive than over-the-counter mouthguards.
If you are buying a mouthguard for your child, it would be wiser to get it from a dental clinic. A child's mouth is still growing, and it is important to keep it safe. Getting a mouthguard from the dentist ensures that it is regularly inspected and replaced when needed. This way, your child's teeth and mouth are protected.
Always inspect your mouth guard for wear and tear. If you notice any, it might be time to buy another. Don't take a tear lightly — you never know when an accident can occur, which can lead to jaw injuries, broken teeth, chipped teeth, gum damage, lip damage, etc. Some dental trauma can be long term.
In addition to inspection, always keep your mouthguard clean and stored properly. Oral hygiene is crucial to prevent infections.
Avoid sharing mouthguards, even if you wash them. Firstly, it is not hygienic, and secondly, people don't have the same dental structure, meaning the mouthguard only offers maximum protection to the person it was made for.