A sports mouth guard protects your teeth from trauma due to external impact. Ideally, your mouth guard should fit comfortably and there should be minimal if any changes to your ability to breathe or talk normally. If you have braces or a retainer, a sports mouth guard is especially important to prevent any damage to them.
There are three different types of sports mouth guards: stock, boil & bite, and custom-made. Stock mouth guards are basic and generic guards that often provide little protection and tend to make breathing more difficult. Boil and bite mouth guards may fit better than a stock guard but need to be replaced more often than a custom guard, which fits best and are the most comfortable.
The Difference Between Night Guards and Sports Mouth Guards
Despite looking similar, there are a number of differences between the two kinds of mouth guards. Night guards are meant to be worn for longer periods of time so they’re thinner to help you breathe easier. While sports mouth guards are bulkier so they can absorb an external hit, night guards are made differently to prevent your teeth from grinding.
Sports mouth guards tend to take quite a beating and while they can prevent a lot of damage, no mouth guard will always totally protect your teeth. A night guard, on the other hand, will prevent your teeth from grinding provided it fits well and is not damaged.
When to Replace Your Mouth Guard
When It Is Damaged
As previously mentioned, your sports mouth guard is meant to take a lot of damage. It’s important to change it out when the season is over and when you notice it is frayed, deformed, or otherwise misshapen. A damaged mouth guard isn’t able to effectively protect your teeth.
To ensure your sports mouth guard makes it through the season, do not chew it. A lot of athletes are tempted to do so, but it weakens the guard and makes your teeth more vulnerable to injury. Not chewing your mouth guard saves your money since you’ll have to replace it less frequently.
Other Significant Oral Changes
Any change to the shape or look of your mouth will likely necessitate a new sports mouth guard. The whole point of a custom mouth guard is that it’s shaped exactly to the contours of your teeth for optimal protection. This means any change to the shape or look of your mouth will likely necessitate a new sports mouth guard.
For example, maybe you had to get a tooth replaced or pulled, and since your bite changed, you’ll need a new mouth guard. Also, any kind of orthodontic treatment will require a new mouth guard, whether you’re getting braces in or having them out and getting a retainer.
Children should get a new sports mouth guard every six months because their jaw is still growing and changing shape. Trying to keep an old mouth guard can limit that growth and cause other issues.
Need a New Sports Mouth Guard?
Whether you’re brand new to having a sports mouth guard or you simply need a new one for the next season, you can call our Novi dentists at (248) 347-3700 to schedule an appointment. We provide custom-made mouth guards to protect your gums and teeth.