A mouth protector (mouth guard) is a custom-fitted and flexible device which is worn over the teeth during recreational and athletic activities to shield the mouth, gums and teeth from any damage.
Likewise, a mouth guard that fits well may be particularly essential for those who have fixed anterior bridgework, people who wear braces and those individuals who just wish to shield the teeth or smile from possible trauma.
These can safeguard damage to the teeth, fixed appliances or brackets from physical contact and blows.
Mouth protector can also serve as a barrier between cheeks, braces or teeth, between the tongue and lips hence reducing the risk of damage to the soft tissue.
An Ideal Mouth Protector also:
- Enables speaking and does not restrict breathing
- Offers a high degree of fit and comfort
- Easy to clean and durable
- Stays solidly in place even during action
- Tasteless, odorless, tear-resistant and resilient
Typically, a mouth protector only covers the upper teeth. But, dentists may recommend that athletes with protruding jaw, those individuals who wear braces or those who wear other dental appliances (like bridgework, retainers of those who have implant-supported dentures) on the lower jaw consider wearing a mouth protector on the lower teeth.
Who Needs to Wear a Mouth Protector?
The American Dental Association suggests the use of a mouth protector for people playing football, lacrosse, volleyball, plus acrobatics, skateboarding, skiing, field hockey, boxing, racquetball, skydiving, basketball, martial arts, gymnastics, squash, wrestling, rugby, discus throwing, surfing, water polo, handballshot putting, weightlifting and soccer.
Meanwhile, for professional advice with regards to protecting the teeth at the time of activities, it is advisable to discuss with the orthodontist or dentist about choosing a mouth protector which will provide utmost protection for a person’s specific needs.
The Benefits of a Mouth Protector
Wearing a mouth protector is a fundamental precaution especially for athletes of all abilities and ages, aiding to shield against broken or chipped teeth, tooth loss, bone or root damage. Indeed, mouth protectors also help safeguard against serious injuries like cerebral hemorrhage, neck injuries, jaw fracture, and concussion by means of helping to prevent certain incidence where the lower jaw jams into the jaw located on the upper portion.
Through keeping the soft tissue in the oral cavity further from the teeth, mouth protectors aid avoid bruising and cutting of the tongue, lips and cheeks specifically for athletes who wear orthodontic appliances.
How to take proper care of mouth protector?
- A mouth protector must be thoroughly washed with cold water and soap at least once in two weeks.
- Clean it using a brush or toothpaste before and after use. Afterwards, carefully rinse it with a mouthwash.
- Keep it away from hot surfaces, hot water and direct sunlight for this may result to the mouth protector’s shape distortion. It is time to replace the mouth protector when it becomes loose and is already causing discomfort.
- Dentists recommend that mouth protectors be put in a perforated container while transporting or storing it in order to enable air circulation and avoid damage.
- Lastly, bring the mouth protector during dental visit since it needs to be examined just like the patient.