Your smile is worth protecting. While that usually means following simple oral health care practices like brushing, flossing, and taking regular trips to the dentist, some activities require additional measures to keep your teeth looking their best (and staying in place).
Enter the performance mouthguard.
What is a performance mouthguard?
A performance mouthguard is a mouthpiece designed to be worn by athletes in sports where they might suffer a mouth injury.
What sports require mouthguards?
Mouthguards can be worn during any sport where contact with the teeth is a concern (including non-contact sports like tennis or golf), but they are most commonly worn in sports where person-to-person contact happens frequently, including:
- Martial arts
How do mouthguards protect the teeth?
A mouthguard places a protective barrier between your teeth and another surface (whether that be another athlete, a ball, the ground, or a goal post). A good mouthguard should keep you from losing a tooth even if you experience impact to the mouth. This is hugely important to the health of your mouth and to the maintenance of a healthy smile.
What mouthguard options are available?
Mouthguards are available in generic, semi-custom, and custom options.
- Generic: Non-adaptable mouthguards you wear right off the shelf. These are the least expensive option, but also the least comfortable.
- Semi-custom (or “boil and bite”): These mouthguards are placed in boiling water to become pliable. Then the athlete places the mouthguard in their mouth and bites down, allowing the mouthguard to adjust to the shape of the teeth.
- Custom: These mouthguards must be made by a dentist, as they are made to be a completely custom fit to the athlete’s mouth. They will provide the best protection and be the most comfortable to wear.
Are there any other uses for performance mouthguards?
Mouthguards are also used to help with problems like teeth grinding during the night. Additionally, some experts believe that performance mouthguards actually improve athletic performance by improving breathing patterns, releasing jaw tension, and even increasing strength and endurance.
If you play a low-to-high impact sport and want to protect your smile, a mouthguard is the best way to do it. Talk to your dentist about which mouthguard option is best for you, and be sure to ask about the benefits and other uses of each mouthpiece type.