Why mouthguard is required and important?

Why mouthguard is required and important?

Sep 01, 2019

Mouthguards are devices which are used to protect the teeth from grinding or clenching while sleeping or from injuries while playing. This helps in reducing snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

All mouthguards are not the same. Choose based on your needs. There are 3 types of mouthguards-

  • Stock mouthguards

This is affordable and widely available on sporting goods stores and drug stores. They come in different sizes from small to large and can fit easily over your teeth. Stock mouthguards usually cover the top teeth only. They do not provide a tight fit due to limited size options.

  • Boil and bite mouthguards

These are also not much expensive and can found at drug stores. It comes only in one size which you can customize so it fits over your teeth. Boil the mouthguard until it softens, then place over your front teeth.

  • Custom-made mouthguards

These are custom-made where the dentist will take the impressions of your teeth and create as per the size of your mouth and teeth. It is comfortable and cannot be dislodged while sleeping. This is the best if you grind your teeth, have sleep apnea or snore.

Usually, mouthguards cover upper teeth only but in some cases, the dentist can make a mouthguard for lower teeth as well. All the mouthguards look similar to each other but have different functions.

  • Sports

There is a high risk in many types of sports and activities which can lead to injuries on the face. The mouthguard can protect your teeth and prevent lips and tongue from injuries.

While playing sports, stock mouthguards or a boil and bite mouthguard is also a good choice. These are not much expensive and best option for occasional wear.

  • Teeth grinding

Many people tend to grind or clench teeth while sleeping known as bruxism. It is a sleep-related disorder and can cause tooth pain, jaw pain and sore gums. If you have a root canal or periodontal therapy, there is a high risk of damaging your teeth. Root canals don’t last forever and you will have to get them replaced once damaged. This is a very expensive procedure.

While sleeping, a mouthguard is recommended so your top and lower teeth are separate. This will not cause any damage to the root canal or periodontal therapy from grinding or clenching.

  • Sleep apnea

This is a serious sleep disorder which stops a person breathing temporarily during sleep. The brain is not able to receive oxygen and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also causes the problem of snoring.

If your sleep apnea is mild, then use a custom-made mouthguard. This will push your lower jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep. If any strap goes around your head and chin, then re-adjust your lower jaw.

  • Snoring

Mouthguards help in reducing snoring which is caused due to the vibrations of soft tissue in the upper airway. The lower jaw is pulled forward to keep the airway open. There are many types of mouthguards available which claim to prevent snoring. It is not sure whether they are effective.

Mouthguards are not only for the children who play sports such as basketball, football, boxing and more. A child who participates in non-contact sports such as gymnastics or recreational activity such as skateboard or mountain biking also needs a mouthguard. The pediatric dentistry recommends a mouthguard for the children who play sports at a young age. This will become a routine and habit.

Care for a mouthguard-

  • Rinse the mouthguard with cold water or a mouth rinse and clean it with a toothpaste and toothbrush before and after use.
  • Clean it occasionally in cool and soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Store the mouthguard in a firm container. Keep away from pets such as dogs and cats to prevent damage.
  • Protect from high temperatures such as hot water, hot surfaces and direct sunlight.
  • Take the mouthguard along when you visit the dentist for a dental examination.

Mouthguards are effective for a child who grinds teeth at night. Whether you play sports or suffering from a sleep disorder, a mouthguard provides protection and good night sleep.

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