Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to enjoying sports and recreational activities. That's where mouthguards come into play. Whether you or your child is engaged in organised sports or simply enjoying recreational activities, wearing the right mouthguard is essential for protecting your teeth and overall oral health.
Prominent dental organisations such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists strongly recommend the use of comfortable, well-fitted mouthguards that don't restrict breathing, resist tearing, and are easy to clean.
Why Sports Mouthguards Matter
Preventing Dental Trauma and More
Mouthguards, also called gum shields, play a crucial role in safeguarding your oral health during physical activities. They protect against potential injuries, including jaw fractures, tooth fractures, and lacerations or bruising of the lips, cheeks, or tongue.
Dental trauma, in particular, can be excruciatingly painful and lead to significant financial costs for treatment and restoration.
Types of Mouthguards
There are several types of mouthguards available, each with its own advantages. Read below to understand the differences so you can make an informed decision:
Custom-made mouthguards are crafted to fit your mouth perfectly. They are typically recommended by dental professionals who can take precise impressions of your teeth. These mouthguards offer superior comfort and protection due to their tailored fit. They are especially suitable for athletes who engage in contact sports like boxing, taekwondo, and more.
Mouth-Formed or "Boil-and-Bite" Mouthguards
These mouthguards are designed to be softened in hot water and then bitten into to create a customised fit. While they may not offer the same level of precision as custom-made mouthguards, they are readily available and can be a cost-effective choice for individuals participating in various recreational activities.
Stock or Commercial Mouthguards
Stock or commercial mouthguards are pre-made and come in various sizes. While they are the most affordable option, they often provide the least protection and comfort. They are best suited for casual or occasional use and may not provide the necessary protection for contact sports.
The Right Mouthguards for Your Activity
Choosing the perfect mouthguard for your specific activity is crucial for ensuring safety and overall comfort. Here’s how to choose one:
Consider the Nature of the Sport
1. Boxing, Taekwondo, and other High-Contact Sports: If you participate in contact sports like boxing or taekwondo, a custom-made mouthguard is highly recommended. They are precision-crafted to fit your teeth perfectly, providing superior protection against impacts and minimising the risk of jaw fractures, tooth fractures, and injuries to the lips, cheeks, and tongue.
2. Recreational Sports and Activities: For recreational activities that may involve some physical contact but not at the intensity of contact sports, a boil-and-bite mouthguard can be a suitable choice. These mouthguards offer a customisable fit, allowing you to mould them to your teeth for improved comfort and protection.
3. Casual Activities: If you engage in casual activities or sports occasionally, stock or commercial mouthguards may suffice. However, remember that they only provide a basic level of protection and may not be as comfortable as custom-made or boil-and-bite mouthguards.
Evaluate Comfort and Fit
1. Custom-Made Mouthguards: These offer the highest level of comfort and fit because they are individually tailored to your teeth. Dental professionals can create a custom mouthguard that fits snugly and securely.
2. Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: Boil-and-bite mouthguards can still provide a reasonably good fit, but they may not be as precise as custom-made options. It's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure a proper fit.
3. Stock or Commercial Mouthguards: These mouthguards come in predetermined sizes and may not fit as comfortably as custom-made or boil-and-bite alternatives. However, they are readily available and cost-effective.
Consult with a Dental Professional
For better guidance, it's always a good idea to consult a dental professional. They can assess your dental health, activity level, and individual preferences to recommend the most suitable mouthguard for you.
Selecting the right mouthguard for your sports and recreational activities cannot be overstated. Whether you opt for a custom-made mouthguard for optimal comfort and protection or choose a boil-and-bite or stock mouthguard, the key is to ensure you wear one consistently.
At Sim & Hooi Dental, our team of caring dentists provides premium services in our adult & kid-friendly clinics in Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya in Malaysia including custom mouthguards, self-ligating braces, teeth scaling and polishing, wisdom tooth removal, and many more. Contact us for pricing and enquiries today.