A mouth guard is a piece of protective equipment that is used to prevent dental injury. Mouth guards are used most commonly for protection during contact sports, by people who suffer from teeth grinding and sleep apnoea and by people who wear braces. Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses of a mouth guard and consider what are mouth guards for.
What Are Mouth Guards For?
While mouth guards can be used in a variety of different contexts, their primary objective is to be a protective barrier to your mouth and teeth.
Mouth guards are worn most commonly on the upper jaw but they can be purchased for the lower jaw too. Your dental practitioner may recommend both jaws be protected if you wear orthodontic braces.
When Are Mouth Guards A Good Idea?
The most common uses for mouth guards include
Providing Protection During Contact Sports
Contact sports are still responsible for a large number of dental injuries, many of which can be prevented by wearing a mouth guard. Contact sports such as rugby and martial arts can cause injuries to the mouth, tongue or teeth but wearing a mouthguard is beneficial for anyone doing any kind of sport. If you mountain bike, participate in obstacle courses or ride a skateboard, wearing a mouthguard can prevent lasting and costly damage to your teeth and mouth.
Some of the types of dental injury that could be prevented by wearing a mouth guard include
- A broken, chipped, cracked or lost tooth
- Nerve damage
- Injuries to your soft tissues including your cheeks, palate, tongue and lips.
Providing Protection Against Teeth Grinding
Some people grind or clench their teeth at night and during the day. It is quite common for people to do this when they are stressed or anxious but some people do it to the extent that it causes damage to their teeth.
Some patients suffer from a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If you have OSA, your airways collapse at night when you are asleep, preventing air from getting to your vital organs. It is often accompanied by snoring due to the vibrations of the airways, and teeth grinding.
Providing Protection For People Who Wear Orthodontic Braces
Patients who wear orthodontic braces run the risk of causing damage to the inside of their mouths when they play any kind of sport. The metal brackets and wires can cause painful injuries if you receive trauma to the mouth or cheek, and your best level of protection comes in the form of a mouthguard.
Are There Different Types Of Mouthguards?
Mouthguards can be bought from sports stores, however, the sizing on these is generic and they are not likely to fit well enough to offer protection.
A custom-fit mouthguard can be designed to fit the contours of your mouth and teeth, and offers you the highest level of protection against dental injury, especially during contact sports.
To find out more about what are mouth guards for or to speak to a professional, please contact us: