If you’ve played a contact-heavy sport, such as hockey or lacrosse, you know that your mouthguard was a critical piece of equipment, just like your sticks or shoulder pads. Studies have shown, however, that athletes who compete in traditionally less violent sports, such as gymnastics, softball, and mountain biking, can benefit from the protection afforded by a mouthguard. Here’s what you need to know.
Mouthguards are great tools to shield your teeth, gums, and jaw from trauma. In fact, athletes are 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their mouth and teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. Plus, they help cushion blows to the chin, reducing the likelihood of concussions. And they may provide you with the competitive edge you’ve been searching for: surveys have shown that athletes feel more confident and aggressive when they know they are well-protected.
Athletes can choose from three different types of mouthguard: ready-made stock models, boil and bite models which can be moulded for a better fit, and custom made models. While each type will provide some degree of protection, the level of comfort, durability, and effectiveness will vary.
Ready-Made: Ready-made mouthguards are inexpensive and can be purchased in most sporting goods stores. They typically come in a limited number of sizes, though, so finding one that comfortably fits your mouth may be a challenge.
Boil and Bite: Boil and bite mouthguards are also a cost effective choice, plus they offer a degree of customization that ready-made models do not. They can, however, be a bit bulky, potentially restricting your speech or breathing.
Custom Made: Custom made mouthguards, which are manufactured with state-of-the-art, tear-proof materials, are perfectly fitted to an athlete’s mouth by a dental professional. Not only does this increase a mouthguard’s comfort and protection, it also accommodates any dental treatments, like braces or crowns, that less individualized guards cannot. Given their superior comfort, durability, and protection, custom made mouthguards are a more expensive option. At The Lowe Centre, we produce personalized Under Armor mouthguards for athletes of all ages.
Although mouthguards may appear solid, they actually contain numerous pores that can trap bacteria and other microorganisms that can harm your teeth. To protect your smile, be sure to rinse your mouthguard before each use. Once you remove the mouthguard, clean it with cool water or mouthwash, rinse thoroughly, and store it in a hard, vented container. Avoid leaving your mouthguard in hot water or in direct sunlight and keep tabs on its level of wear and tear. If you have custom model, bring it to each of your routine cleanings and check-ups so it can be examined for fit and effectiveness.
Remember that it’s never too early (or too late) to start wearing a mouthguard during your athletic endeavours. If you’re interested in a professional opinion regarding a mouthpiece for you or your loved one, or are ready for a customized mouthguard, get in touch with us today!