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Mouthguards: Protecting Your Pearly Whites
Guard Against Injury to Your Mouth
- In-line skating or skateboarding
- Comfortable fit
- Proper fit
- No restriction on breathing
Types of Mouthguards
- Ready-made—These can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are pre-formed and ready to wear. These mouthguards are the least expensive, but also the least effective. You may also find them uncomfortable. This type of mouth guard only stays in position when your mouth is closed.
- Mouth-formed —Also called boil-and-bite mouth protectors, this type can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. They may fit better than the ready-made option. The protector is softened in hot water, then inserted into the mouth and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. This type cannot be used if you have braces. The material may also become brittle after it has been worn for a while.
- Custom-made—This type is made personally for you by your dentist. It is more expensive than the other two types. Because it is customized, it usually has the best fit and will offer the best coverage for your mouth. This type of mouthguard also does not interfere with your ability to speak.
- Do you still have primary teeth or missing teeth?
- The needs of the specific sport and level at which you are playing. Ask for recommendations from coaches or instructors.
- Dental work that may interfere with mouthguard such as crowns or braces
Take Care of Your Mouthguard
- Rinse with cool water or mouthwash before and after each use. You can also clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
- Store it in a case that has vents so it can air out properly between uses.
- Keep it in a place where it is not too hot or too cold to help protect the shape.
- Check it for wear and tear to make sure it is in good shape.
- Make sure that it does not irritate your mouth when you wear it.
- Do not chew on it.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons http://www.aaoms.org/
The American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/
Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca/
Canadian Dental Hygienists Association http://www.cdha.ca/
Consumer’s guide for choosing the right mouth guard. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaoms.org/docs/facial%5Fprotection%5Fmonth/mouthguard%5Fchart.pdf. Accessed November 30, 2012.
Keep Sports Safe—Wear a Mouthguard. American Dental Association Division of Science. J Am Dent Assoc. 2012;143(3):312.
Mouthguards. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouthguards.aspx. Accessed November 30, 2012.
Statement on Athletic Mouthguards. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/1875.aspx. Updated February 2009. Accessed November 30, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012
- Update Date: 11/30/2012