More and more people take part in sports than ever before and injuries to the mouth are common when playing any physical contact game, therefore athletic mouth guards have become a necessary device in mouth and maxillofacial injury protection.

Most youth sports, including those in the Tumwater region and Washington state have now mandated mouth guards following studies about the orofacial protection that they provide.

Highschool football, hockey and lacrosse now require mouth guards and they are highly recommended by the ADA for gymnastics, skiing and running.

While there is no substitute for regular checkups and professional preventative care, mouth guards are an extremely important and necessary part of mouth protection for many people and some common questions are:

  • What is an athletic mouth guard?
  • Why should I use a mouth guard?
  • How can I get one and how do I use it?

An athletic mouth guard is one of many types of mouth protection devices which should be used when playing sports but has other applications and you can get one from your dentist or from sports stores.

What is an Athletic Mouth Guard?

A small device that has been designed to fit the top teeth, a mouth guard is among some of the best dental care devices with multiple uses but has been primarily designed to protect against damage that can occur during a sports event.

While it cannot protect the face, a mouth guard can protect the teeth against forceful contact that might come from a stray elbow, a boxing glove, or a hockey puck. 

Despite this, only around 40% of players actually use a mouth guard in sports where it isn’t required as stated by the rules, which greatly increases the chance of permanent dental trauma.

Why Should I Use a Mouth Guard?

If you take part in any type of contact sport you should always consider it, and it is highly recommended that you wear a mouth guard since approximately a quarter of all dental injuries treated by a dentist stem from sports activities.

There are other uses for a mouth guard also, related to:

  • Grinding and clenching
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea

Using mouth guards can help with some of the issues associated with dentistry. They do this by absorbing impact to both the teeth and the gums commonly associated with grinding while sleeping and the slight pull forward to the bottom jaw helps with sleep issues.

How Can I Get One and How Do I Use It?

Mouth guards are available for children and adults alike and while they can be purchased in a store, it is recommended that a professionally fitted guard is installed by a dentist for optimal protection. 

Visiting your local Affordable Dental Care dentist in Tumwater, Washington is the best method of ensuring the very best mouth guard protection for either yourself or your children.

They are highly recommended for contact sports as they can reduce injuries such as scarring, jawbone fractures, and concussions.

Guards come in different forms but the most common types include:

  • Boil and bite
  • Stock
  • Custom

Boil and bite guards offer great protection and are the most common type used in contact sports. These can be purchased from a store or a dentist and are installed by placing the guard into boiled water to soften it and then biting down to mold the guard to your dental structure.

Stock guards are very generic and are shaped basically around the shape of the mouth. They can be purchased from retailers at a cheap price and as such, while they are better than nothing, don’t offer much protection.

Custom-made mouth guards can be expensive but are the best option available. They can be professionally fitted by a dentist after being created to fit your mouth perfectly. This is done by taking X-rays of your mouth and then being custom made in a special lab so that it perfectly aligns with your teeth and gums.