School is back in full swing, and that means sports are too! A sports mouthguard is an incredibly important piece of your athletic equipment. You should consider using one for all practices and games that involve physical contact, collision, flying equipment, or the risk of falling. This includes football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, gymnastics, and more. All of these sports are subject to chipped, broken, and lost teeth.
Different Types of Mouthguards
There are several different types of mouthguards. Here’s some insight into each:
Stock. Stock mouthguards are the cheapest option and can be found at your nearest sporting goods store. These are a good option if you need something quick and your sport has a lower risk of bodily injury. They are bulky and don’t form to your mouth, so most of the time they require you to constantly bite down which can make it more difficult to breathe or speak.
“Boil and Bite.” Boil and bite mouthguards are probably the most common. They are a bit more expensive and can also be found at your local sporting goods store. They differ from stock mouthguards, though, because they are customizable. You boil the mouthguard in hot water to soften the rubber. Once it cools off a bit, you put it in your mouth and bite down, forming the guard to your teeth. Remove it and let it cool. This way, the guard fits perfectly in your mouth and gives you a bit more freedom when it comes to breathing and talking during your sport.
Custom made. These are the most expensive and high-end, but often the most effective. They are made at your dentist’s office or in a laboratory. This will ensure that the mouthguard is an exact fit because it is made directly from a mold of your mouth. They are typically the most reliable and comfortable and therefore end up having the best shot of being used long term.
How to Take Care of Your Mouthguard
Once you have a mouthguard, it is important to take care of it. Most of the time it is recommended that you replace a mouthguard every year. Not only does your mouth change, but mouthguards can also become rundown. If you don’t clean your mouthguard properly, it can start to hold onto bad bacteria which is something you definitely don’t want in your mouth. You should brush your mouthguard with toothpaste before and after each use. Make sure to store it and transport it in a clean container, and don’t ever leave it sitting around, especially in a locker room.
If you have questions about your need for a mouthguard or how to get one, contact us today.