Practicing sports is great for your health, but only if you take the proper precautions to avoid injuries. Some of the most common injuries impact the teeth. They are also the easiest to prevent — you simply need to use a mouth guard or similar appliance.
The Importance of Mouth Guards & Appliances
Mouth guards and appliances cover your teeth, protecting them from damage in the case of impact from a ball, stick, puck, or elbow. They also separate your upper and lower jaws to stop your teeth from crashing together. In this way, mouth guards are able to prevent cracks, chips, and knocked-out teeth as well as cuts to the lips and cheeks and damage to the jaw.
It is especially important to use a mouth guard for sports like hockey, boxing, and wrestling. However, mouth guards are also worthwhile for any sports where an object could make contact with your mouth as well as for anyone with dental work, including braces and crowns.
Stock mouth guards
These over-the-counter mouth guards are your cheapest option, but they also provide minimal protection. Made to be one-size-fits-all, they are often uncomfortable and may require effort to hold in place.
Boil-and-bite mouth guards
Boil-and-bite mouth guards are also available for purchase in sporting goods stores. After boiling the mouth guard, you will bite it to shape it to your teeth. This offers a slightly better fit than the stock mouth guard.
Custom mouth guards
For optimal protection, receive a mouth guard from your dentist. This will be custom fitted using an impression of your teeth and made from a strong material, chosen to suit the sport you practice.