How Do Mouthguards Protect Athletes?

Young man with a mouthguard wears a yellow jersey and prepares to throw a football to his teammate across the field

Have you been told that a mouthguard is an unnecessary accessory when playing sports? In reality, mouthguards are critical for the wearer’s oral health. We’d like to answer some common questions about athletic mouthguards for our active patients.

What Is an Athletic Mouthguard?

Mouthguards come in several forms and are used by a variety of athletes, from tee-ball tots to professional basketball players. Since playing sports increases your risk of getting hit in the mouth or falling on your face, we recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and mouth against injury and trauma. A properly fitted athletic mouthguard can protect your teeth and mouth from a number of traumatic, painful, and expensive scenarios, such as cuts to the mouth, lips, or gums, and teeth that become lost, broken, or chipped.

Types of Athletic Mouthguards

There are three types of athletic mouthguards:

  1. Custom-Fitted
  2. The best kind of mouthguard is a custom-fitted mouthguard crafted by a dentist to fit your unique smile. Although they do require an upfront investment of money and time, a custom-fitted mouthguard boasts maximum protection, durability, and comfort. And because it is so comfortable, an athlete is more likely to wear it.

  3. Boil-And-Bite
  4. A boil-and-bite mouthguard can be purchased at your local sporting goods store. You heat them until they can be molded to your bite. They’re fairly durable and provide decent protection, but are not nearly as effective or comfortable as custom-fitted ones, since they aren’t created to perfectly fit your unique mouth structure.

  5. Stock
  6. Although it’s certainly better than no mouthguard at all, a stock mouthguard provides the least amount of protection with the lowest level of comfort. This is one you buy with the bite already measured in, but the limited sizes may not be a good fit for your mouth structure. As a result of a poor fit, it commonly shifts and falls out during activity, or the athlete regularly chooses not to wear it due to discomfort.

Who Needs an Athletic Mouthguard?

Anyone who plays a sport where they may fall, come into physical contact with others, or be hit with equipment (like balls, bats, sticks, or pucks) should wear a mouthguard. This includes sports like baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, hockey, rugby, lacrosse, and football, as well as gymnasts, boxers, skateboarders, mountain bikers, and those who participate in martial arts.

Where Can I Get a Mouthguard?

Stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are available at most sporting goods stores and drugstores. But to receive a unique, custom-fitted guard that will give you the confidence and assurance you need to play harder and longer with maximum comfort and without worrying about the health and safety of your teeth, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with us. Here at Las Cruces Dental Solutions, our expert team can create a reliable athletic mouthguard that will protect your teeth in the most active situations.

If you’re in need of an athletic mouthguard, schedule a consultation today.