What is the primary purpose of sports mouthwear?
The primary purpose of sports mouthwear, or mouthguards, is to protect the athlete’s teeth, gums, and jaw from potential injuries during physical activities.
Can I buy a sports mouthguard at a drugstore?
Yes, many drugstores carry “boil and bite” mouthguards or stock mouth protectors. While these can offer basic protection, they might not fit as snugly as custom-fitted options from a dental professional.
How often should I replace my mouthguard?
It’s advisable to replace mouthguards at the start of every sports season or sooner if they show signs of wear, damage, or no longer fit correctly. Children and teens might need replacements more frequently due to growing mouths.
Can I wear a mouthguard if I have braces?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s even more critical to protect your orthodontic appliances and the surrounding soft tissues. Special mouthguards designed for braces are available.
How do I clean and care for my mouthguard?
After each use, rinse your mouthguard with water or mouthwash, clean with a toothbrush and toothpaste, and store it in a sturdy container with ventilation. Periodically, you can also deep-clean it with soapy water, followed by a thorough rinse.
Are mouthguards required for all sports?
Not all, but many contact sports like football, hockey, and lacrosse typically require mouthguards. Non-contact sports participants can still benefit from using mouthguards to prevent accidental injuries.
Do mouthguards prevent concussions?
While mouthguards primarily protect dental structures, some studies suggest they might help reduce the risk of concussions. However, evidence isn’t conclusive, and more research is needed.
Why choose a custom-fitted mouthguard over a store-bought one?
Custom-fitted mouthguards, made by dental professionals, offer superior fit, comfort, and protection compared to store-bought variants. They’re molded precisely to the individual’s mouth, ensuring optimal effectiveness.
Can I speak and breathe easily with a mouthguard in?
While there might be an initial adjustment period, a well-fitted mouthguard should allow for relatively easy breathing and speaking. If it’s too obstructive, it might not be the right fit.
Are mouthguards safe for young children?
Yes, as long as they are appropriately sized. It’s essential to ensure that the mouthguard fits snugly and doesn’t pose a choking hazard.