Irving Primary Care

The Importance of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards are protective devices designed to shield your teeth, jaw, tongue, and mouth. They are inexpensive, yet can go a long way in protecting a person who plays contact sports. In spite of the apparent advantages that mouth guards have to offer, many athletes still show willful negligence by not wearing mouth guards when they should. In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of mouth guards as well as the different types of mouth guards available.

When Should You Wear Mouth Guards?

The American Dental Association recommends the use of mouth guards for the following types of contact and limited-contact sports:

  • Football
  • Boxing
  • Lacrosse
  • Basketball
  • Field hockey and ice hockey
  • Rugby
  • Martial arts
  • Wrestling
  • Soccer
  • Water polo
  • Acrobatics
  • Bicycling
  • Baseball
  • Gymnastics
  • Racquetball
  • Skiing
  • Skateboarding
  • Weightlifting
  • Volleyball

You may have seen sports persons from some of these sports categories wearing mouth guards. In many cases, however, athletes forgo the use of this protective gear. This is a major concern since the risk of dentofacial injuries from these sports is extremely high. These injuries can also lead to permanent facial disfigurement.

As per the American Dental Association, a properly fitted mouth guard can significantly reduce the chances of such injuries. For instance, a study conducted in 2018 states that the rate of dental injuries in mouth guard users was as low as 7.5 percent. On the other hand, the prevalence of such injuries among non-users reached 59.98 percent. The study concluded that mouth guards reduced the chances of major and minor dentofacial injuries by 93 percent. These injuries mainly comprised of coronal fractures and tooth avulsions. Recovering from such injuries can be a prolonged and costly process. For instance, merely recovering from a permanently damaged tooth can have a lifetime cost amounting to $20,000.

These findings highlight the importance of mouth guards and what you can stand to gain by using this protective gear while playing sports.

Types of Mouth Guards

There are three types of mouth guards. These include:

  1. Stock Mouth Guards: These are standard mouth guards that are easily available at a sporting goods store or a department store. These mouth guards are preformed. Since they are not custom-fitted, they can be painful to wear and may not offer a sufficient amount of protection. They also make it difficult to breathe and talk.
  2. Custom-fitted Mouth Guards: These mouth guards are designed by a dentist or a professional laboratory. They are made using an impression of your teeth. Unlike stock mouth guards, these are comfortable to wear. They also offer a high amount of protection to your mouth.
  3. Boil and Bite Mouth Guards: These mouth guards are made using thermoplastic material. You can place this material in hot water to soften it. The mouth guard is then placed in your mouth where it gets molded according to the shape of your teeth with the help of finger and tongue pressure.

Let’s Sum It Up

The importance of mouth guards in contact sports or sports involving limited contact cannot be ignored. Mouth guards are the most inexpensive type of protective gear for your mouth and teeth available and wearing them can save you from a permanent facial injury. If you are an athlete, we strongly recommend that you use this protective gear to ensure your safety.

If you require further advice on the use of mouth guards, we suggest you book an appointment at Health One Family Medicine.

Visit or call 469-208-9770 for more information.