Mouthguards 101: When You Might Use a Mouthguard (Even If You Don’t Play Sports!)

A mouthguard is an important piece of dental equipment, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. In fact, mouthguards serve many different functions for many different people. Here, we take a closer look at the mouthguard and its usefulness and importance.

Protection in Sports.

Probably the most common and well-known use of mouthguards is that of protecting athletes’ teeth in contact sports. Sports like football, hockey, boxing, lacrosse, wrestling, and more usually require their athletes to wear mouthguards for protective purposes. Mouthguards protect the teeth in sports like these by cushioning any blows to the face, so that the teeth and gums don’t receive the full force of the impact. They can even help reduce lip and jaw injuries. If you are a serious athlete, or have a child who is, talk to your dentist about having a custom mouthguard made, which will offer the best fit and the most protection. For a less expensive option, try a “boil and bite” mouthguard, available at most sporting goods stores.

Help with Snoring.

This is one use for mouthguards that is not as widely known. There are mouthguards that are specifically made to reduce snoring. Depending on the type of snorer you are, your dentist may recommend different types of mouthguards to help with the problem. One type acts as a shield to prevent mouth breathing (and snoring) while sleeping. Another adjusts the muscles of the jaw to allow smooth airflow through the mouth. Similar to sports mouthpieces, these can be custom made or more generic; talking to your dentist will help you determine the right mouthguard for you.

Prevention of Damage from Grinding or Clenching Teeth.

Grinding or clenching of the teeth can happen day or night. Also called bruxism, this is bad for your tooth enamel and can also cause pain in your teeth, jaw, or gums. A mouthguard can help provide a barrier between your top and bottom teeth, preventing the damage caused by clenching or grinding. Because this type of mouthguard will probably be worn on a daily basis, you’ll want it to fit as comfortably as possible. Talk to your dentist about having a custom mouthguard made. You’ll sleep better and protect your mouth from further damage.
Once you have your mouthguard, you’ll want to treat it with care and clean it regularly. After use, you should brush it as you would your teeth, and rinse it well before using it again. Your mouthguard should come with a container to keep it in; use it to protect your mouthguard from germs and damage. If something feels off with your custom mouthguard, take it to your next dentist appointment to make sure the fit is still good for your mouth.
If you think a mouthguard might help you, whether with protection in sports, prevention of snoring, or stopping tooth damage from clenching or grinding, call Smile Concepts at 480-951-2800. We’d love to help you protect your smile and improve your health!