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Who should wear a mouthguard and when?

Any children or adult practising a sport or recreational activity should wear a mouthguard if there is a risk of contact with other participants or hard surfaces.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, anyone taking part in the following activities should wear a mouthguard: acrobatics, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, shot put, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

Benefits of wearing a mouthguard

In the United States, wearing a mouthguard prevents around 200,000 injuries per year in high school and college sports only. On the other hand, around 5 million teeth are extracted each year because the mouthguard was omitted.

A mouthguard helps prevent injuries to the teeth, tongue, cheeks, lips and jaw. By absorbing the impact, it reduces the risk of tooth chipping, fissure, fracture, damage or loss. Certain severe conditions, such as concussions, jaw facture or neck injuries, can also be prevented as the mouthguard stops the lower jaw to violently collide with the upper jaw.

A well-adjusted mouthguard is worth the investment considering the cost of dental care on damaged teeth.

Types of mouthguard

Three types of mouthguard are available on the market:

  1. Model sold in-stores, Boil and Bite thermoplastic;
  2. Model for braces;
  3. Custom model manufactured by the dental team.

Characteristics of the Boil and Bite thermoplastic model

  • Less expensive than custom models
  • Available in three sizes (small, medium, large)
  • Thins up over time
  • Sold in sporting goods stores
  • Formed to the mouth at home with boiling water
  • Affects breathing and elocution
  • Held together by clenching the jaw
  • Short lifespan
  • Most of them do not cover all of the teeth
  • Reasonable option for growing children
  • Minimal level of protection due to poor fitting

Characteristics of the model for braces

  • Flexible model that is designed to lessen the risk of damage to braces
  • Sold in sporting goods stores
  • Held together by clenching the jaw
  • Short lifespan
  • Minimal level of protection due to poor fitting

Characteristics of the custom model

  • Manufactured from dental impressions, by professionals
  • Offers the best fitting
  • Option that least affects breathing and elocution
  • Possibility of adjusting the fitting if necessary
  • The mouthguard can be adapted to the sport practised by the patient
  • Strongly recommended by dentists and other dental professionals
  • Optimal protection due to the quality of the fitting and the controlled thickness

Protect your smile

There are currently five amateur sports that require their participants to wear a mouthguard during practice and competition: boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse (men) and field hockey (women). Many school institutions and sports organizations make their own rules on the subject.

However, regardless of the rules in place, anyone practising a sport should protect their smile with a well-adjusted, quality mouthguard.